Monday, March 12, 2012

Massacre makes Obama "more determined" to leave Afghanistan

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama said on Monday the massacre of 16 villagers by a U.S. soldier increases his determination to get American troops out of Afghanistan, while a U.S. official said the accused staff sergeant previously had suffered traumatic brain injury.

Sunday's shootings triggered angry calls from Afghans for an immediate American exit. Obama said there should not be a "rush to the exits" for U.S. forces who have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001 and that the drawdown must be carried out in a responsible way.

The accused U.S. Army staff sergeant walked off his base in the southern province of Kandahar in the middle of night and gunned down at least 16 villagers, mostly women and children.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the death penalty could be sought in the U.S. military justice system against the soldier, whose name has not been publicly disclosed.

Afghan men investigate at the site of an shooting incident in Kandahar province, March 11, 2012.
Referring to Sunday's massacre, Obama said in an interview with KDKA, a CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh: "It makes me more determined to make sure we're getting our troops home."

"It's time. It's been a decade, and, frankly, now that we've gotten (Osama) bin Laden, now that we've weakened al Qaeda, we're in a stronger position to transition than we would have been two or three years ago," Obama added, referring to the al Qaeda leader killed by U.S. forces last year in Pakistan. Read More...


Post a Comment