President Hamid Karzai accused the United States on Friday of failing to cooperate over a massacre of 16 Afghans blamed on an American sergeant, raising public tensions between the two countries.
His comments underscored deep Afghan anger over the shootings, one day after he said international forces should leave villages, potentially jeopardising NATO operations two years before combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan.
“The Afghan government didn’t receive cooperation from the USA regarding the surrender of the US soldiers to the Afghan government. This (civilian casualties) has been going on for too long,” Karzai told reporters.
“This is by all means the end of the rope here,” added Karzai, who has long called for an end to US raids on Afghan homes and who came under pressure Friday from relatives to take corrective action.
Afghan leaders demanded that the suspect face a public trial in Afghanistan over the killings — mainly of women and children — in the southern province of Kandahar as villagers slept before dawn on Sunday.
But the 38-year-old decorated soldier was instead flown to Kuwait this week, a first step towards being charged and put on trial abroad.
Karzai met 20 to 30 relatives of the victims at his palace today, where representatives suggested more American soldiers were involved in the massacre in two villages, but provided no details to support their claim.
The suspect’s lawyer John Henry Browne said it was possible he could be tried at any major US garrison, but ruled out Afghanistan as an option.
Sunday’s killings were the latest in a series of incidents involving American soldiers that have badly affected already fragile Afghan-US relations as the United States prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.
All our work, loss of lives for what? Nothing!