By Hashim Arain
It was reported recently that a US soldier in Afghanistan went on a shooting rampage, killing 16 Afghan civilians. The soldier went to a nearby Afghan village and started to shoot Afghan villagers whose homes he had broken into. According to reports after the shooting was done, soldier went back to his base and surrendered himself. This tragedy has sparked outrage from the Afghan people and Afghanistan’s leaders. This event has led to p¬rotests in the Afghan regions and continued anti-American views by the Afghan people. According to NPR, the US and NATO apologized for the shooting and said that both are still committed to the mission in their country. The US soldier has been taken into custody, even though some in Afghanistan want the soldier to be tried there.
This incident could not come at a worse time because of the recent Qurans that were burned at a military base in Afghanistan, which prompted similar protests by Afghans and killings of American soldiers. The soldier was said to believe to have a brain injury, which caused him to kill Afghan civilians. According to MSNBC, the soldier was treated for brain injury in 2010, after his vehicle was rolled off. Some say that some mental illness or brain injury might have been the cause for the soldier to do the shooting.
In response to this shooting, the Afghan people want US troops to leave their country as quickly as possible. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai is outraged by this shooting and seems to be losing patience with the US and other foreign governments. According to the Guardian, Karzai has stated that he wants all US troops to leave all Afghani villages “immediately.” Much to Karzai’s dismay however, the US is still sticking with the plan to have the troops stay in Afghanistan until 2014.
What this US soldier did is completely unacceptable. I think that he needs to take some time off from the Army and make sure that he is mentally fit if he returns. I also believe that the US army needs to make more of an effort to make sure its soldiers are mentally stable from month to month; soldiers face a lot of pressure and a lot of surreal situations that may impact their ability to think logically .
Problem with this is, I believe he was checked mentally just before the shootings. What we really need as well is support for our American soldiers because of the effects post traumatic stress disorder can have on soldiers for the rest of their lives. Perhaps a limit on terms soldiers can serve overseas?
Something must have been really wrong with this man and that might explain why he did such a thing like this.
This shooting has really jeopardized relationships between the US and Afghanistan and has only escalated tensions between the two, with the Quran burning in February. I think that the outcome of this incident, without question will make US and Afghanistan relations very difficult for the years to come. As for now, the US still has to try to complete their mission in Afghanistan, and to leave as soon as possible from it. I think that US officials should try to find out what exactly was the soldier’s reasoning for the shooting, and to see if he has any mental illness that could have caused him to do the shooting. This tragedy was truly uncalled for. We need to work to prevent tragedies like this in the future.