Between 15 and 20 American soldiers were involved in the March 11 massacre of civilians in Kandahar Province, according to a parliamentary probe of the killings, not merely one sergeant as has been widely reported for the past week. An investigative team of parliament members spent two days in the province, interviewing members of the victims' families and tribal elders and gathering evidence related to last Sunday's murders in which 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, were killed and their bodies set on fire. The attacks lasted one hour Sunday morning and were carried out by two groups of U.S. soldiers, the leader of the investigative team told Pajhwok Afghan News.
"The villages are one and a half kilometre from the American military base," Hamidzai Lali said. "We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups." The investigation indicates 15 to 20 soldiers took part in the killings, said Lali, who has asked the Afghan government, the United Nations and the international community to ensure the perpetrators are punished in Afghanistan. He expressed anger that the one soldier arrested by the U.S. military in connection with the murders had been flown from Afghanistan to Kuwait. People interviewed by the lawmakers warned that if the killers were not punished, they would launch a movement against the Afghan authorities who had agreed to the presence of foreign troops in the country in 2001, Lali said.
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Photo of Robert Bales: AP Images