PAN, March 17, 2012
Probe team: Women sexually assaulted before killing in Panjwai
By Absin Zaheer
US soldiers were alleged to have sexually assaulted two female victims before they were killed in the Panjwai massacre in southern Kandahar last Sunday, a high-level Afghan probe team revealed.
The Wolesi Jirga’s, or lower house of Parliament, delegation investigating the Kandahar shootings by US troops said besides killing 16 civilians, the soldiers sexually assaulted them.
On the ill-fated Sunday, US troops shot 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, and injured five others when they opened fire on houses in Zangabad village, in Panjwai district.
Some of the victims’ bodies were later set on fire.
The Wolesi Jirga members jointly probing the Panjwai episode, along with a government team, on Saturday presented their chilling findings to the general session of the Parliament.
MP Hamidzai Lali, representing Kandahar province and a delegation member, said before the gun attack, US soldiers physically manhandled the two women and later turned their weapons on the helpless residents.
Shakiba Hashami, another delegation member, confirmed the vicious attack, adding about 15 to 20 American soldiers were involved in the killings and even helicopters were seen hovering the areas.
Quoting local residents, Hashami, said ahead of the Sunday tragedy, there was a blast in the area and foreign troops had warned of revenge killings.
The Afghan Parliamentarians strongly condemned the incident and demanded a public trial for the perpetrators.
US officials had claimed a mentally unstable soldier was responsible for the killings and pledged to put him on trial. Recent media reports said the suspect, in his late 30s, was initially transferred to Kuwait and later flown to the US where he is being interrogated.
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