March 13, 2012. The early morning breaking news in the UK was that Afghan officials were under attack at the site of last weekend's massacre in Afghanistan. The situation was unresolved and the officials were pinned down. Now, an hour or so later more details have been released.
An Afghan government delegation which included two of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brothers and senior security officials, "came under fire from several sides as it arrived in one of the villages where the alleged massacre took place."
A search of the area is still under way and at least one soldier was killed and three people injured. The delegation had little option but to leave the area. Last weekend's killing by reportedly one lone US soldier has increased instability in the area. The Taliban will of course have gained support following the murders which defeats the hard work of the NATO forces who tried to turn around Afghanistan.
There are reports that the Taliban has "threatened retaliation for the 16 deaths, which included nine children and three women, saying it would behead US soldiers."
In true 21st Century style a Taliban leader emailed a statement which said, "The Islamic Emirate once again warns the American animals that the mujahideen will avenge them, and with the help of Allah will kill and behead your sadistic murderous soldiers."
Yesterday, March 12, 2012, "600 students took part in a rally in the eastern city of Jalalabad, condemning the Kandahar attack and chanting "Death to America! Death to Obama! Protesters are on the streets of some Afghan cities already today and the situation remains volatile.
More details regarding the soldier accused of the murders has been released. According to Sky News, " the 38-year-old soldier had suffered a traumatic brain injury on an earlier tour in Iraq.The army staff sergeant, who has been in the military for 11 years, was seriously injured when he was in a vehicle that rolled during a tour of duty in 2010, a US official said. The vehicle accident was not a combat-related event.
The official revealed the soldier had trouble reintegrating following medical treatment ahead of his first tour of Afghanistan. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said it was too early to say whether there was any link between the injury and the shooting in Afghanistan. US defence secretary Leon Panetta said the soldier could face the death penalty if convicted of the attack.
The Pentagon chief told journalists that the suspect would be brought to justice under the US military legal code, which allows for capital punishment in some cases. Asked if he could be sentenced to death, Mr Panetta said: "My understanding is in these instances, that could be a consideration."
More as the situation unfolds.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog