'They Let Americans Kill Us'
Tribal elder reacts to death of his family
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2012 2:27 PM CDT
In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 photo, men stand next to blood stains and charred remains inside a home where witnesses say Afghans were killed by a US soldier in Panjwai, Kandahar province.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

(Newser) – Abdul Samad used to believe in the campaign against the Taliban. When he moved his family back to the village of Panjwai, he settled in a house close to an American military base, believing that there, he would be safe from militants. But all that changed Sunday, when he returned to find the bodies of 11 relatives lying stabbed, shot, and burned on his floor—at the hands of a US staff sergeant. Now, like many villagers here, he is full of rage and grief. "Our government told us to come back to the village, and then they let the Americans kill us," he tells the New York Times.

Like many, Samad, a poor farmer and respected village elder, fled his home earlier in the war. But when the US troop surge cleared out the Kandahar region, he heeded his government's call to return home. Now, he wants the Americans gone, whatever the cost. Like many here, he doesn't believe the soldier acted alone, citing helicopters spotted overhead after the attack (military officials say they were airlifting victims to hospitals). When Hamid Karzai called Samad to express his condolences, Samad lashed out. "We made you president, and what happens to our family?" he cried. "The Americans kill us and then burn the dead bodies." President Obama, meanwhile, said the US takes this "as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered," notes the Washington Post.