Officials Believe Gunman Acted Alone, Press Secretary Says

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2012 — Offi­cials believe a lone ser­vice mem­ber was involved in the shoot­ing deaths of 16 civil­ians in Afghanistan’s Kan­da­har province over the week­end, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary George Lit­tle said today.

Alleged­ly, an Army non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer left his base and killed 16 Afghans in near­by vil­lages. He turned him­self in to author­i­ties upon his return to the base, Lit­tle said. 

The sol­dier had served mul­ti­ple tours in Iraq and is on his first Afghanistan deploy­ment, the press sec­re­tary said. 

“We believe at this time only one ser­vice mem­ber was involved,” Lit­tle said. “Beyond that, I real­ly can’t com­ment fur­ther.” The inves­ti­ga­tion into the inci­dent con­tin­ues, he added. 

U.S. offi­cials – includ­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta – are in touch with their Afghan coun­ter­parts. The sec­re­tary called Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai and to expressed his deep­est con­do­lences to the vic­tims and their families. 

“This is an iso­lat­ed inci­dent,” Lit­tle said. “We will pur­sue account­abil­i­ty for the alleged actions of this ser­vice member.” 

Lit­tle would not spec­u­late on a motive for the inci­dent. “We are very trou­bled it hap­pened and are very inter­est­ed in know­ing why the alleged shoot­er might have done this,” he said. But the actions of one indi­vid­ual will not force the Unit­ed States to change its fun­da­men­tal strat­e­gy in Afghanistan, he added. 

“We con­tin­ue to work close­ly with our Afghan part­ners through­out the coun­try to pur­sue our com­mon mis­sion,” he said. “We are mind­ful it was­n’t just a U.S. response to this inci­dent. Our Afghan part­ners respond­ed quick­ly as well, and we believe that is a sign of strength in the relationship.” 

No one should think that the Unit­ed States “is steer­ing away from our part­ner­ship with the Afghan peo­ple, from our part­ner­ship with the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces, and from our com­mit­ment to pros­e­cute the war effort,” the press sec­re­tary said. 

Lit­tle could not say when the ser­vice mem­ber will be charged, nor would he put time­lines on the inves­ti­ga­tions. “We want to make sure we have a com­plete pic­ture of what hap­pened in this hor­rif­ic event,” he said. “And we pre­pare for pos­si­ble crim­i­nal prosecution.” 

An inves­tiga­tive team and a pros­e­cu­tor have been assigned, Lit­tle said. “We are going to work close­ly with the Afghans on this inves­ti­ga­tion,” he added. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →