Its the anniversary this month of the much talked about [url=http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,752310,00.html]photos in Der Spiegel[/url] last year.
For the ordinary Afghan, on the one side, there was the "Kill Team". A better description of the "Kill Team" activity in Maiwand in [url=http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-kill-team-20110327?print=true]in Rolling Stone.[/url]
[quote]Indeed, it would have been hard not to know about the murders, given that the soldiers of 3rd Platoon took scores of photographs chronicling their kills and their time in Afghanistan.
The photos, obtained by Rolling Stone, portray a front-line culture among U.S. troops in which killing Afghan civilians is less a reason for concern than a cause for celebration. "Most people within the unit disliked the Afghan people, whether it was the Afghan National Police, the Afghan National Army or locals," one soldier explained to investigators. "Everyone would say they're savages." One photo shows a hand missing a finger. Another depicts a severed head being maneuvered with a stick, and still more show bloody body parts, blown-apart legs, mutilated torsos. Several show dead Afghans, lying on the ground or on Stryker vehicles, with no weapons in view.
In many of the photos it is unclear whether the bodies are civilians or Taliban, and it is possible that the unidentified deaths involved no illegal acts by U.S. soldiers. But it is a violation of Army standards to take such photos of the dead, let alone share them with others. Among the soldiers, the collection was treated like a war memento. It was passed from man to man on thumb drives and hard drives, the gruesome images of corpses and war atrocities filed alongside clips of TV shows, UFC fights and films such as Iron Man 2. One soldier kept a complete set, which he made available to anyone who asked.
The collection also includes several videos shot by U.S. troops. In a jumpy, 30-minute clip titled "Motorcycle Kill," soldiers believed to be with another battalion in the Stryker Brigade gun down two Afghans on a motorcycle who may have been armed. One of the most chilling files shows two Afghans suspected of planting an IED being blown up in an airstrike. Shot through thermal imaging, the grainy footage has been edited into a music video, complete with a rock soundtrack and a title card that reads 'death zone.'[/quote]
A [url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/11/kill-team-calvin-gibbs-convicted]court-martial followed,[/url] and a conviction.
[quote]Gibbs was convicted of murder for inciting two soldiers to kill 15-year-old Gul Mudin as he worked in a field. The platoon commander gave a grenade to one of the soldiers, Jeremy Morlock, who threw it at Mudin. A second soldier, Andrew Holmes, then shot the boy. Gibbs played with the corpse of the teenager "as if it was a puppet", Morlock told the trial.
The staff sergeant was also convicted of shooting dead Marach Agha, a man sleeping by a roadside, and then planting a Kalashnikov next to the corpse to make it look as if he was a fighter. He kept part of the victim's skull as a trophy.
Gibbs was convicted on a third count of murder for killing a Muslim cleric, Mullah Adahdad, with a grenade and then shooting him. Two other soldiers, Morlock and Adam Winfield, have already pleaded guilty over their roles in the killing. Gibbs and other soldiers collected fingers, teeth and other body parts as trophies. They also took photographs of themselves posing next to their dead victims. In one of the pictures Morlock is seen lifting Mudin's head by its hair for the camera and smiling. The soldiers also took ghoulish pictures of themselves with dead combatants.[/quote]
In the end, though, [url=http://news.yahoo.com/us-soldier-gets-life-sentence-afghan-killings-024116265.html]]mercy towards the defendants prevailed[/url] out of consideration for an innocent son who needs his father.
[quote]The jury for the court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle sentenced Gibbs Thursday to life in prison, but he will be eligible for parole in less than nine years. The 26-year-old soldier was the highest ranking of five soldiers charged in the deaths of the unarmed men during patrols in Kandahar province early last year.
Gibbs' lawyer, Phil Stackhouse, asked for leniency — life with parole, instead of without it — and noted that Gibbs could be eligible for parole if they allowed it. "He'd like you to know he has had failures in his life and he's had a lot of time to think about them," Stackhouse said. "He wants you to know he's not the same person he was in Afghanistan. He doesn't want his wife to have to raise their son on her own."[/quote]
On the other side, [url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/7935362/Taliban-death-squad-kills-a-pregnant-woman-after-public-flogging.html]the Taliban.[/url]
[quote]Bibi Sanubar was held captive, beaten in front of a crowd before she was shot three times in the head on Sunday by an insurgent commander in the Qadis district of Badghis province, the Afghan police said. Ghulam Mohammad Sayeedi, deputy provincial police chief, said: "She was shot in the head in public while she was still pregnant." Mrs Sanubar had been accused of an illicit affair, while the man she had slept with had escaped punishment. Mr Sayeedi said a local Taliban commander, Mohammad Yousuf, carried out the execution before the woman's body was dumped in an area under government control. A purported spokesman for the Taliban movement denied any involvement and said the reports were police propaganda.
Insurgents were also accused of hanging a 7-year-old boy for spying earlier this year and shooting dead a young couple trying to elope last year.[/quote]
Is it any wonder the middle class has fled?