GI Afghan 'Death Squad' Probe Now Targets Leaders

Leadership of 5th Stryker Brigade allegedly did nothing to stop killings
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2010 3:30 AM CST
A soldier with the 5th Stryker Brigade on patrol in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(Newser) – With at least 5 US soldiers accused of forming a "kill team" that murdered Afghanistan civilians, the US military is now investigating the brigade's leadership, reports the Guardian. A brigadier general is conducting a "top to bottom" review of the army's 5th Stryker Combat Brigade after evidence emerged that the brigade's leadership did nothing to intervene, even after the killings were being widely discussed. The 5 soldiers are charged with involvement in 3 murders of Afghan civilians, mutilating bodies, and collecting fingers and skills from corpses as trophies.

Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs is the alleged leader of what prosecutors characterized as a death squad based in Kandahar province. "Gibbs had pure hatred for all Afghanis and constantly referred to them as savages," said one soldier facing a court martial for the killings. Seven other soldiers have been charged with lesser crimes, including covering up the killings, drug use, and collecting body parts as souvenirs.

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