An Afghan youth mourns for relatives, who were allegedly killed by a U.S. service member in Panjwai, Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March. 11, 2012. A U.S. service member walked out of a base in southern Afghanistan before dawn Sunday and started shooting Afghan civilians, according to villagers and Afghan and NATO officials. Villagers showed an Associated Press photographer 15 bodies, including women and children, and alleged they were killed by the American. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan youth recounted on Monday the terrifying scene in his home as a lone U.S. soldier moved stealthily through it during a killing spree, then crouched down and shot his father in the thigh as he stepped out of the bedroom.
The soldier, now in U.S. custody, is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in their homes in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday and then burning some of their corpses. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said nine of those killed were children and three were women.
“He was walking around taking up positions in the house — in two or three places like he was searching,” said 26-year-old witness Mohammad Zahir, who watched the gunman while hiding in another room. “He was on his knees when he shot my father” in the thigh, he told The Associated Press. His father was wounded but survived.
Even before the shootings, anti-Americanism was already boiling in Afghanistan over U.S. troops burning Muslim holy books, including Qurans, last month on an American base. The burnings came to light soon after a video purporting to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses was posted on the Internet in January.
Now, another wave of anti-foreigner hatred could threaten the entire future of the U.S.-led coalition’s mission in Afghanistan. The recent events have not only infuriated Afghanistan’s people and leaders, but have also raised doubts among U.S. political figures that the long and costly war is worth the sacrifice in lives and money.
Zahir recounted the harrowing scene in his family home when the soldier came in before dawn.
“I heard a gunshot. When I came out of my room, somebody entered our house. He was in a NATO forces Login to read more