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Afghan probe team finds multiple soldiers behind Kandahar killings

19 March, 2012

KABUL: More than a dozen U.S. soldiers had reportedly been involved in the Kandahar killing of 16 civilians, a local newspaper reported on Sunday, citing members of the Afghan parliament who were part of an investigation to probe the incident.

"The delegation sent to Kandahar by the Afghan House of Representatives (Lower House of Parliament) reported on Saturday that two groups of (American) soldiers totaling 15 to 20 troops carried out the planned attack with air support," Daily Outlook Afghanistan reported.

The incident described by many Afghans as "carnage" happened on March 11 when a rogue U.S. soldier came out of his base in Panjwai district and entered a few houses nearby, opened indiscriminate fire leaving 16 people dead including three women and nine children and nine others injured.

However, a U.S. investigation has repeatedly maintained that only one soldier has committed the killing who had been detained.

Despite Afghans' strong demand that the suspect be tried publicly in the country, the U.S. military transferred the accused soldier, who has been identified as Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, to the United States.

The report, citing a parliamentarian, Mohammad Naeem Lali Hamidzai, said that before the civilians being killed by American soldiers, two women had been sexually assaulted.

The Afghan government has yet to release the findings of a team who were assigned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to investigate into the killings.

The incident further strained the relationship between Washington and Kabul, which has already been clouded by other recent incidents including the burning of Quran at a U.S. base in Afghanistan and reports of U.S. service members urinating on the corpses of Taliban soldiers.

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