WASHINGTON, DC—Following reports of civilians intentionally killed by a US soldier in Afghanistan, Sarah Holewinski, executive director of civilian advocacy group Center for Civilians in Conflict said:
“We are shocked by the tragic deaths of at least 16 civilians by an American soldier in Panjwayi district of Kandahar. Our deepest condolences go to the families now in mourning, their lives forever changed.
“The victims and their families in Kandahar deserve justice and assistance. The US military is investigating this alarming act, and that’s the right thing to do. Their inquiry needs to be followed immediately with a full explanation to the families about what happened and compensation for their losses. Nothing can bring back those killed or right this wrong, but a transparent investigation, swift justice, and compensation is critical to ensure dignity for the victims’ families and show that international forces are sincere in addressing this egregious act of violence.
“US and international forces have worked hard these past years to improve and reduce civilian casualties, which is evident in consistently decreasing rates of harm caused by their operations. For many Afghans, though, a single soldier’s actions will not be differentiated from the mission. The US will need to sincerely address Afghan concerns, fears, and losses to show this tragedy does not reflect the whole of US forces.”
Notes to editors:
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.
For more information, contact Christopher Allbritton at +1 (917) 310-4785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.