Mon, March 12, 2012
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Civilian killings in Afghanistan to increase anti-U.S. resentment, delay strategic pact

2012-03-12 10:04:29 GMT2012-03-12 18:04:29(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

 KABUL, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The killing of a dozen civilians by a rogue U.S. soldier in southern Kandahar province on Sunday would increase anti-U.S. resentment among Afghans and avail the Taliban to exploit the situation, Afghan analysts believe.

"Intentionally targeting civilians and killing innocent people no doubt would enhance anti-U.S. resentment and enable the Taliban to benefit from the situation and recruit more fighters," Kabul- based security analyst Wahid Mujda said.

Mujda, who served as a Foreign Ministry official during Taliban reign which collapsed in late 2001 by the U.S.-led military campaign, also said that shooting on innocent civilians and killing innocent people would prompt many affected families to join the Taliban and seek revenge.

The bloody incident happened early Sunday morning in Zangabad village of Panjwai district when a rogue U.S. soldier, according to locals, opened indiscriminate firing, leaving 16 people including women and children dead and injuring nine others.

The gruesome incident triggered protest demonstrations in Panjwai district calling for the early punishment of those responsible for the callous act.

President Hamid Karzai and his Defense Ministry have also condemned the incident besides demanding punishment of the perpetrators.

In a statement released by the Afghan Presidential Palace, the Afghan president described it an intentional act and demanded explanation from the U.S. government.

The awful incident occurred amid peace efforts with the Taliban outfit, and negotiation between Kabul and Washington over the inking of strategic partnership, which if singed would allow the U. S. to keep military bases in Afghanistan.

Mujda who serves as a fellow researcher with the Research Center for Strategy Studies, a think tank in Kabul, also termed the shooting rampage as defeat of U.S. military in the war on terror in Afghanistan.

"People in the affected area say this is the massacre committed by a group of soldiers, not by a man, to take revenge of their defeat," Mujda said, adding the soldiers of the ex-Soviet Union had also committed similar crimes during their defeat in Afghanistan.

He opined that except 2 percent of Afghans who benefit from the U.S. military presence and have secured lavish life and money, the remaining 98 percent who are poor and destitute are in favor of U. S. withdrawal from the country.

"The tragic incident would also damage the credibility of U.S. at the eyes of Afghans and creates distrust between Afghans and the U.S. and allied troops based in Afghanistan," Mujda observed in talks with Xinhua.

U.S. President Barrack Obama also has expressed in telephone talks with his Afghan counterpart President Karzai his sadness and sympathy to families of the victims and assured to bring to justice those behind the bloody shooting.

Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO-led forces in a statement condemned the bloody incident and vowed to revenge on the U.S. soldiers.

The rampage shooting in Kandahar took place just days after a week-long nation-wide demonstrations over Quran burning by U.S. soldiers in Bagram airbase, the U.S. main military center in Afghanistan in mid February.

Meantime, spokesman of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson in talks with journalists on Monday expressed his sorrow over the awful incident.

He said "It is a horrible incident in an area we have seen so much success over recent months. It is an area that was a heartland of the insurgency, where huge progress has been made, and where the population has really moved forward. And where basically development was showing very good signs, it would be very sad if this tragic incident, this single outstanding would have a negative impact on what have been achieved."

"The killing of civilians by U.S. soldiers would weaken the relations between locals and foreign troops and eventually strengthen Taliban positions," political analyst and former legislator Daud Sultanzoi told Xinhua.

He said the bloody incident in Kandahar on Sunday would also affect the credibility of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and eventually the inking of proposed strategic partnership between Afghan and U.S. governments.

Sultanzoi said awarding punishment to those responsible for killing civilians as soon as possible would help reduce the anger of people; the delay in bringing to justice the maniac killer soldier would further infuriate the people and eventually affect the signing of strategic pact with the United States.

"Harming civilians by U.S. soldiers would boost up the idea that long-term presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan would mean more killing of Afghan civilians," Sultanzoi said.

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