Tuesday Mar 20, 201202:06 AM GMT
Afghan massacre not act of lone gunman, witnesses say
Afghan villagers gather near vehicles as they prepare to remove the victims of a shooting from homes in the village of Alokozai in Kandahar province on March 11, 2012.
Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:55AM
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Afghan eyewitnesses to the recent massacre of 16 civilians in Kandahar province say the slaughter was carried out by more than one US soldier.


According to a video broadcast by CNN on Sunday, Afghan villagers said multiple US troops broke into their houses and asked about the Taliban.

Witnesses said that they told the troops that there were no Taliban there, but they started shooting at people anyway.

Ali Ahmed said, “It was 3:00 a.m. when they entered a room and shot my uncle after asking where the Taliban are. My uncle replied that he didn’t know.”

He added that the worst thing happened in the next room, where they entered and killed all the children there, including a two-month-old baby.

Other villagers told CNN that after the carnage, the US soldiers piled up the dead bodies of the victims and set them on fire.

The US broadcaster showed photographs of the dead bodies of the children, which the villagers said were burnt by the troops.

However, US officials still insist that only one soldier, identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, was responsible for the killings. Bales was flown out of Afghanistan last week.

Relations between the two countries have plummeted to a new low as a result of the massacre of Afghan civilians.

According to a fact-finding mission set up by the Afghan parliament, at least 20 US soldiers were involved in the massacre of 16 civilians, including nine children, on March 11 in the district of Panjwaii in the southern province of Kandahar.

After investigating the circumstances and speaking to witnesses and locals, it was concluded that the crime could not have been committed by a single soldier, the head of the mission said on March 14.

Earlier, the Afghan government also said that several US troops, not a lone soldier, killed the Afghan civilians

GJH/MF/HGL
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