US soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai village following the shooting of Afghan civilians allegedly committed by a rogue US soldier in Panjwayi district, Kandahar province on March 11, 2012.
In the early hours of Sunday an American soldier left his base in the southern province of Kandahar, walked into several houses, and apparently shot and killed 16 people, mostly women and children. After returning to the base the U.S. soldier, who has not yet been named, turned himself in to military authorities.
No explanation for the incident has been given but some reports suggest the soldier suffered a nervous breakdown or might have been drunk. US officials are saying that he acted alone. The incident will undoubtedly put more strain on relations between Afghans and foreign forces already troubled by last month’s inadvertent burning of Korans by the US military personnel in Afghanistan. An investigation into Sunday's shooting rampage is underway.
Does this event demonstrate a need for change in U.S. policy toward Afghanistan? Will this incident undermine efforts to establish stability in Afghanistan and how can the U.S. restore Afghanis’ faith in its military?
Qasim Tarin, Interim Chapter President, Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce Northern California Chapter; Chairman, Afghan Business Network