Report calls Marines’ use of force excessive

first_img“In failing to distinguish between civilians and legitimate military targets, the U.S. Marine Corps Special Forces employed indiscriminate force,” the report said. “Their actions thus constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian standards.” The bombing and subsequent shooting was the most high profile of a number of human-rights violations in the fighting in Afghanistan that were documented by the human rights commission. The report comes amid resurgent Taliban violence and coalition reprisals that are costing an increasing number of civilian lives and that have brought harsh criticism of the government and international forces. A spokesman for the military’s Central Command said the report had been forwarded to Adm. William J. Fallon, the senior U.S. officer in the region, for review. The deputy director of the human rights commission, Nader Nadery, warned that incidents like the highway shooting have greatly contributed to outrage in Afghanistan, contradicting efforts by coalition forces to win people’s support away from the Taliban. “There is a high level of frustration among the public and civilians that they are victims of both sides of the conflict,” he added. In Spinpul, where the incident happened, and in the whole province of Nangarhar, that frustration is evident. KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. Marines reacted to a bomb ambush in eastern Afghanistan last month with excessive force, hitting groups of bystanders and vehicles with machine-gun fire in a rampage that covered 10 miles of highway and left 12 civilians dead, including an infant and three elderly men, according to a report published by an Afghan human rights commission on Saturday. Families of the victims said last week that they had demanded justice from the U.S. military and the Afghan government, and they described the aftermath of the Marines’ shooting in Nangarhar province. One 16-year-old newly married girl was cut down while she was carrying a bundle of grass to her family’s farmhouse, according to her family and the report. A 75-year-old man walking to his shop was hit by so many bullets that his son did not recognize the body when he came to the scene. In the weeks immediately after the episode, the U.S. military began an investigation, and it is now exploring possible criminal charges, senior military officials said. The Marines involved in the episode are being kept in Afghanistan, but the rest of their 120-man company has been pulled out of the country. A U.S. spokesman in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. David A. Accetta, said Saturday that the military was in the final stages of approving condolence payments for families of the wounded and dead in the shootings. He said: In its report, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission condemned the suicide bomb attack that initially struck a convoy of a Marine Special Operations unit on March 4, wounding one American, and said there may also have been small-arms fire directed at the convoy immediately after the blast. But it said the response was disproportionate, especially given the obviously nonmilitary nature of the Marines’ targets long after the ambush. Still mourning, the families of the victims said this week that they had demanded from President Hamid Karzai and the U.S. generals they had met that those responsible be punished. Some of them said the soldiers should be tried under Islamic law and face the death penalty if found guilty of the killings. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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