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Afghan villagers say shootings were revenge

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"The shooting incident as well as any possibilities that led up to it or might be associated with it will be investigated," Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, the spokesman, said Tuesday.

One Mokhoyan resident, Ahmad Shah Khan, told The Associated Press that after the bombing, U.S. soldiers and their Afghan army counterparts arrived in his village and made many of the male villagers stand against a wall.

"It looked like they were going to shoot us, and I was very afraid," Khan said. "Then a NATO soldier said through his translator that even our children will pay for this. Now they have done it and taken their revenge."

Neighbors of Khan gave similar accounts to the AP, and several Afghan officials, including Kandahar lawmaker Abdul Rahim Ayubi, said people in the two villages that were attacked told them the same story.

Mohammad Sarwar Usmani, one of several lawmakers who went to the area, said the Afghan National Army had confirmed to him that an explosion occurred near Mokhoyan on March 8.

On March 13, Afghan soldier Abdul Salam showed an AP reporter the site of a blast that made a large crater in the road in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, where the shootings occurred. The soldier said the explosion occurred March 8. Salam said he helped gather men in the village, and that troops spoke to them, but he was not close enough to hear what they said.

Ghulam Rasool, a tribal elder from Panjwai district of Kandahar province, where the shootings occurred, gave an account of the bombing at a March 16 meeting in Kabul with President Hamid Karzai.

"After the incident, they took the wreckage of their destroyed tank and their wounded people from the area," Rasool said. "After that, they came back to the village nearby the explosion site.

"The soldiers called all the people to come out of their houses and from the mosque," he said.

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