By New Worker correspondent
PEACE activists gathered in Trafalgar Square on Monday evening for a vigil organised by Stop the War to express their shock and outrage at the cold-blooded massacre of 16 civilians, nine of them children, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on Sunday.
The imperialist authorities maintain the culprit was a single individual United States sergeant. But freelance photo journalist Guy Smallman, who travelled to Afghanistan a few years ago to report on the effect of the war on the Afghan people, told the Trafalgar Square rally that the contacts he had made there had been in touch and said that there was definitely more than “one rogue soldier” involved.
And other reports from Afghanistan say there was a group of drunken US soldiers involved going from house to house, shooting people in their beds and then burning the bodies in the middle of the night. There are one or two injured Afghans who survived by pretending to be dead who can bear witness.
It follows a pattern of official night-time raids – up to 40 a night – on Afghan civilian homes searching for “terrorists”.
This policy had led to growing anger and tension between the local people and the US occupation troops.
Lindsey German from Stop the War Coalition said: “It is not one mentally-unbalanced US soldier on a rampage that killed 16 civilians on 11th March 2012, including nine children. “The US and its allies have been on a rampage in Afghanistan for over 10 years. It is the occupation that causes the endless slaughter in Afghanistan. The only solution is for all foreign troops to be withdrawn now.
“Afghans don't want us in their country, the US and UK public don't want us there, everyone knows the war is lost.”
In an interview on Monday she told journalists: “When Obama and Cameron meet in Washington on 13th March, whatever they say publicly, they will certainly be discussing whether they can bring forward the exit date.
“When historians look back at the end of the Afghan war surely 11 March 2012 will be marked as the day when it finally began to unravel, and when all but the most gung ho supporters of the carnage realised that the game was up.
“The strategy of Afghanisation – training Afghan soldiers and police to take over from the ISAF troops – had already been stretched thin in the months beforehand.
“The burning of the Koran by US troops was seen by many as the last straw, triggering demonstrations across the country and a number of assassinations of US troops.
“The events of 11th March were even more shocking, however.
“Sixteen people killed, nine of them children, by a supposedly lone gunman, a sergeant who was attached to Green Beret or Navy Seals Special Forces, who shot the victims in their beds and burned the bodies.”
The Afghan puppet parliament has condemned the killings and demanded a public trial, saying Afghans have run out of patience with how the Nato-led coalition forces are acting in the country. The outraged people of Afghanistan would not tolerate any other response from their government, even though it is officially an ally of the Nato forces.
In the capital Kabul one house painter, Najibullah, told a reporter from the Independent newspaper: “The Americans are not here to assist us they are here to kill us. I hate the Americans and I hate anyone who loves them, so I hope there is no long-term partnership between our countries.”