The Afghan investigation team of legislators investigating the Kandahar killings submitted a chilling report to the Afghan parliament in Kabul earlier today, which alleges that the killings were not the rampage of a rogue sergeant, as Pentagon claims, but a planned massacre involving many troops and even US army helicopters. The team also alleged that two Afghan women were sexually assaulted by the US troops before they were shot. The team claimed that 15 to 20 American troops were involved and it was a case of revenge killing following some insurgent activity in the area.
President Hamid Karzai probably knew that Washington was not telling the whole truth and feared that the cover-up won’t work beyond a point. So he decided to go public and distance himself from the American version. On Friday, Karzai said cryptically that the American version is “not convincing.” He added in good measure, “It is by all means the end of the rope here” — meaning that US-Afghan relations are at a breaking point.
Karzai is between the rock and a hard place. Barack Obama might have pacified him with a phone call. But it is hard to imagine that Karzai can play ball on this issue. Washington cannot get out of this mess easily. The Washington Times editorial is spot on: maybe, it is getting time to fire up the helicopters on the US embassy roof in Kabul. The US’s retreat from Afghanistan is going to be incredibly tricky. The flood gates of Afghan anger are opening.
– March 17, 2012