Afghans speak out after killing spree

Afghans in Kabul express their feelings after an American soldier killed 16 civilians on Sunday.

U.S. Marines On Operations In Remote Southwest Afghanistan
The recent shooting spree from an American soldier has fomented anger amongst Afghans [GALLO/GETTY]

Kabul, Afghanistan – In the early morning hours of Sunday, a heavily-armed US soldier in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) left a military base in the Panjawi district of Kandahar province and opened fire on three houses in southern Afghanistan.

The pre-dawn attack claimed the lives of 16 Afghans – nine children and three women among them – as witnesses say the US Army Sergeant went from house to house shooting civilians.

The attack comes as yet another setback for international forces in the Central Asian nation. Recently, protests against the burning of Qurans at Bagram airbase, a centre for foreign troops, led to the deaths of 41 Afghans and six US personnel.

Ali Latifi took to the streets of the Afghan capital on Sunday to ask locals on the bustling streets of Shahr-e-Naw, Kabul’s commercial centre, and the neighbourhood of Qalai-Fatullah, what impact the shooting has had on the Afghan people and what it means for the increasingly strained relations between the people and international forces now entering their eleventh year in Afghanistan.

Sayed Yousef – Cab driver


Of course I was shaken, how could you not be?

Every time these events occur, (Afghan President Hamid) Karzai says Afghanistan must be in control (of the nation), but they just continue to follow.

I would imagine that the shooter had an illness, like the Afghan who killed several people in the airport.

If he was healthy, he should be held responsible. He won’t be though, people like him never are.

They had said they will stay here till 2014, so they have to.

When they leave, I’m certain the civil war will erupt again. Because right now, there is no one in the country who has real power or the trust of the people.

Earlier, we used to say if (Former President Mohammad) Najibullah leaves, things will get better, but it only went from bad to worse.

Now looking ahead, if the foreigners leave, it will again go from bad to worse.

Abdul Qader – Tailor and former army colonel


I don’t watch the news much. What good does it do? The people who watch it are the helpless ones, the ones who stand back and see all the tragedies. Neither they nor we can change anything. The ones on the news, those in charge, they don’t care and won’t make any positive changes for the people.

This incident, like the Quran burnings, are meant to test the endurance and commitment of the Afghan people. Burning holy books was a test to see how fast Afghans hold to their faith and they saw it’s one thing that Afghans won’t part with.

I used to be an army colonel and now I’m a tailor because I don’t want to be a part of this government. If I was one of those people that could cheat and lie and steal, I would have joined this administration. But I can’t, so I’m a tailor. I barely earn enough to feed my family and provide for my little son, but at least this way, I know I am not working to the detriment of my country.

If the foreigners leave, definitely there will be war and in-fighting. In the end, it will be the people who suffer because this government isn’t working for the people, it is only looking out for itself and once they leave, it will only get worse.

Qais – Pharmacist


Naturally, I was upset when I heard. There will be only negative consequences from this. People are emotional, whatever the outcomes – protests or otherwise – it won’t be limited to just the south. It will engulf the whole country.

The US will have to apologise and say they won’t let it happen again. But once you make people angry, there is very little you can do to quell their resentment. Regarding these deaths, the US may give blood money to the families, but will that really help them?

Politics is two sides of the same coin. I’m not in support of the US leaving us. Its exit will just lead to a civil war.

The US isn’t here for us though, they see our neighbours. We are close to China, Russia and Iran. It is for that the Americans are here, not for us.

Even if they don’t go to war with the Iranians, they will do like what they did in Iraq and have the people turn against the government from within through sanctions and economic tactics. And Afghanistan is the perfect place to do this.

Ali – Shop keeper


The way we – the people of Kabul – see it, is that the US presence in Afghanistan is without purpose.

They advance certain things – they (the US) installed the Taliban. Everything, including the Taliban, is under their [the US’] control. 

If the US leaves, it will be better for us. All these events have become ordinary for us.

Let them go, who is concerned with them?

A civil war is possible, but everything is under the control of the Americans.

US-Afghan relations could get worse or they could get better, I  really don’t know much about their relations.

Hamidullah – Local resident


What happened the other night in Kandahar was inhuman.

We are Muslims and must defend ourselves. Abuse toward a Muslim is a terrible thing.

They came into our nation and continue their cruelty. This act can only be described as inhuman.

Our president, our parliament must take a real stance on these matters. It is not the first time, it happens repeatedly.

Protests have no benefit, the government must do something by itself. Whatever the people do is of little consequence.

The protests against the Quran burning changed nothing, those who committed it were not affected.

The government brought them, they must fix it.

When they spend so much here and everyday see so many of their men die, they must see some advantage in Afghanistan to stay. If there was no benefit, they would not stay. There must be a benefit for them that they and our government are aware of, but we are not.

The Quran says Muslims are brothers. If the Afghans can come together and leave behind notions of Pashtun, Hazara and Tajik, God willing this nation will stand on its own feet. It will become a proper nation in its own right and advance any agenda it wants.

Source: Al Jazeera


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