Relations between Afghanistan and the USA have been put under even greater strain following a horrific attack by a US soldier on unarmed Afghan civilians. The soldier left his base in Kandahar province on Sunday night and killed 16 Afghan civilians in their homes. Most of the victims were women and children as several of the men were away visiting relatives in other towns.
Following on from the recent Qu’ran burning incident, diplomatic relations between the two countries have hit an all-time low with the State Department now recognising that US actions may well be putting Americans at risk. Deputy State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner said:
“We’re fully aware that this is going to raise or has the possibility of raising ire and emotions in a place where tensions are already running high. We would appeal for calm.”
The US President, Barack Obama, condemned the killings on 11th March 2012:
“I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering. This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan. I fully support Secretary Panetta’s and General Allen’s commitment to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.”
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, also called President Karzai to express her condolences at the tragic killings as well as to invite the Afghan leader to visit Germany.