Last Sunday, a U.S. Army staff sergeant opened fire on Afghan villagers in Balandi, leaving 16 Afghans — mostly women and children — dead.
The suspect, whose identity has been withheld by the army, is reported to have acted alone, leaving his base around 3 a.m. and opening fire on sleeping families in two separate villages.
He was then flown to Kuwait and arrested for the charges, and is being transferred to Kansas to await trial.
In fear that the suspect’s family might be in danger of retaliation, the family was moved to a military base near their home.
The incident has encouraged a series of protests and bombings in Afghanistan, to which Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was exposed on his visit to Afghanistan earlier this week.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the attack “unforgivable” and asked for immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Karzai also questions the validity of the U.S’s account of the incident. Asked if he had seen surveillance footage allegedly filmed at the soldier’s base, Karzai questioned the video’s authenticity.
“The army chief and the police chief have been shown, or I believe their representatives have been shown, a video of the surveillance that they have, which has not been satisfactory to our team. Not convincing,” Karzai said.
One of the villagers also questioned if the act could be done by just one person.
“One man can’t kill so many people. There must have been many people involved,” Bacha Agha of Balandi village told The Associated Press. “If the government says this is just one person’s act, we will not accept it. After killing those people, they also burned the bodies.”