Taliban Vow Revenge for U.S. Soldier’s Rampage
The Taliban on Monday vowed revenge for a U.S. soldier’s killing spree of 16 villagers in Afghanistan that has sparked a new crisis in already fragile Afghan-American relations.
The U..S soldier walked off his base, heavily armed and with night vision equipment, and broke into three village homes before dawn Sunday, killing 16 people including women and children, according to Western and Afghan sources.
Some bodies bore blackened burn marks, according to an Agence France Presse correspondent who saw them at the villages in the southern province of Kandahar.
It is the latest in a series of actions by American troops that has provoked outrage in Afghanistan, and comes weeks after the burning of Korans at a U.S. base provoked riots that killed 40 people and plunged ties to an all-time low.
The Taliban, leading a 10-year insurgency against U.S.-led foreign troops and the government in Kabul, threatened to take revenge against “sick-minded American savages … for every single martyr.”
The statement on their website came after the U.S. embassy urged its citizens to take extra precautions, warning against “a risk of anti-American feelings and protests in coming days especially in eastern and southern provinces.”
A soldier has been detained and the United States has offered condolences to the families and pledged that action will be taken against anyone found guilty.
President Barack Obama telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to promise a speedy investigation into the “shocking” killings, which fanned already smoldering anger among Afghans over the burning of the Korans.
Sunday’s massacre poses an acute test of the U.S.-Afghan alliance, as the two countries pursue difficult talks on securing a strategic pact to govern their partnership once foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.
The proposed strategic pact would likely cover the legal status of any U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan to help Kabul with intelligence, air power and logistics in the fight against Taliban insurgents.