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Pattaya Daily News

19 September 2010 :: 17:09:22 pm 39386

US Soldiers on Murder Charges over Afghan “Kill Teams”

A group of American soldiers are facing murder charges for a five-month killing spree in which they reportedly targeted innocent Afghan civilians as sport, a US military investigation reported.
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United States, the 19th of September 2010: In one attack, soldiers are said to have simulated an ambush attempt, before shooting dead an innocent villager they were stationed to protect.

Reportedly, the group of soldiers, dismembered and photographed bodies, keeping numerous bones and skulls of the deceased as grisly trophies of their actions. At present, all involved have denied all charges.

In a campaign which already harbours deep resentment in against the coalition forces due to numerous civilian deaths, American commanders fear details of the incident could further hamper efforts to ease the situation.

In total, five soldiers are accused of forming a “kill team” which murdered three people in Kandahar province between January and May this year. Seven others are charged with attempting to impede the investigation and assaulting the private who blew the whistle on their activities.

Allegedly, a father of the involved officers had tried to contact the Army after his son revealed talk of his comrade’s actions, warning that they were looking for another victim.

The alleged killers, all from the same 5th Stryker Combat Brigade platoon of the Second Infantry Division, have been involved in heavy fighting in the southern Kandahar region until their tour ended in July.

The 3,800-strong Stryker brigade, named after the eight-wheeled armoured vehicles it uses, suffered heavy casualties from large roadside bombs when stationed in Kandahar province. In a yearlong tour, 35 soldiers were killed in combat, six others died from other causes and 239 were wounded.

Court papers stipulate that the gang first began to discuss killings when Staff Sgt Calvin Gibbs joined the platoon and boasted how easy they got away with “stuff” on previous tours of Iraq, according to a leading US newspaper.

Staff Sgt Gibbs, Cpl Jeremy Morlock, Pfc Andrew Holmes, Spc Michael Wagnon and Spc Adam Winfield are accused of the killings.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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