Update 8:36 a.m. ET: The NATO-led command expressed regret for the killing of a religious leader by a military convoy Thursday. "Despite all the measures that we put in place to ensure the safety of the Afghan people, regrettable incidents such as this one can occur. On behalf of ISAF I express my sincere regrets for this loss of life and convey my deepest condolences to his family," said ISAF spokesman Brig Gen. Eric Tremblay, quoted in an ISAF news release.
Watch CNN's Dan River's report on the incident
Kabul, Afghanistan - Angry demonstrations took place Thursday outside a U.S. military base on the outskirts of Kabul after NATO-led forces fatally shot an Afghan religious leader. Mullah Mohmmad Younas, 36, of Paktia Kowt Mosque in Ud-Khil district, was sitting in a parked car with his two young sons, waiting for a convoy belonging to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to pass, witnesses said.
The fourth ISAF vehicle opened fire without provocation, witnesses said. Abdul Ghafar, chief of criminal investigation for the Kabul police, said ISAF forces opened fire because the man got too close to the convoy.
Later, his car was moved to the yard of a nearby house. At least 16 bullet holes riddled its exterior (photo above). Residents said Younas was hit four times - three bullets entered his chest; one hit his abdomen. He died on arrival at a hospital.
ISAF confirmed the shooting, offered sympathies and said it was investigating.
"We can confirm one civilian was killed by ISAF forces this morning during an incident involving an ISAF convoy," a statement said. "The specific details of the incident are not known at this time. ISAF is conducting a thorough investigation in cooperation with our ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] partners."
Younas led a nearby mosque. Angered by his death, about 150 people demonstrated outside Camp Phoenix, but the district police chief persuaded them to disperse.
Civilian casualties at the hands of U.S. troops have strained relations between Afghanistan and the United States. The numbers have fallen off in recent months since Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal took over as U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
I wish we could resolve the contradiction between the article and some of the comments (which claim to be from people who were eye-witnesses or have information from eye-witnesses): was the car rapidly approaching the convoy (comments), or was it parked, motionless (article)? the loss of what turns out to be an innocent life is regrettable in either case, but I would feel more understanding for the soldier in the former. if the article is incorrect, could CNN please issue a correction?
'American' and 'ISAF' and 'NATO' can all be the same thing; these terms are not mutually exclusive, either-or. the United States is part of NATO. NATO is part of ISAF. the article only implies that the soldier(s) that did the firing was/were American; the only explicit reference is to ISAF. from the comments it appears that the shooter *was* American specifically.
(there are also American forces in Afghanistan that are not part of NATO/ISAF, but I think they mostly operate in the eastern mountains)
for commenters who say that it seems to be OK with the Afghans when the Taliban kill innocents, my reading of articles of the situation there is different: the population is equally fed up. the Taliban is not generally popular, as evidenced by the recent news that some tribes are taking matters into their own hands to help push the Taliban out of their territory. on the other hand, if you were one of the sons in the car, who would you have more sympathy for?
Black ops, just so you know they were not a part of spec ops I promise. I know all the soldiers in that convoy. For sure, no part of black ops or any group like that. Just a bunch of regular joes on a mission headin out. No clues, no theorys, and the soldiers are being held accountable for their actions. Sorry to break the news to you.
A targeted killing. The convoy passing by was likely a part of the covert op. Soldiers sent on a mission with a black ops unit embedded, beyond the knowledge of even senior commanders. Reread the story, there are clues that shouldn't be to hard to decifer. Guaranteed no one is ever held responsible. No conspiracy theory... I've been privy to similar coveret acts in the past.
You really ought to read more than the quran......If what we are is disgraceful, hell, I'm proud to be part of it.
I don't know where you come from, in fact I'll bet more thana few others wonder the same thing.....
If you are such a real person you must be stooping to our level, and why are you using a computerYou should be using a piece of paper and make letters that look more like tattoos and or pin striping.
And please, when you send a post try and make it so it has some sembalence of making sense......
If brains were dynamite...you would not have enough to make your ears pop
You all American people are a disgraceful type of people. No sympathy for others and just reliant on them. If only the economy can hurt you more then you all will understand what it is to be a real person rather than survive on superficial means.
Just so you guys all have the facts straight, It was an american, actually my friend that did it. Its easy to be critic from 7000 miles away,sitin on a couch, eating that great american food that has half of america to fat to join the service, and the other half is to busy to serve the great country in which they live. It obvious your not here and never will be. I am currently in afghanistan and have been for nearly 15 months. I too am a gunner, not a easy job. The soldier did his job, made split second decision to protect the lives of the soldiers in the truck. We would rather be judged by 12 than be carried by 6. It unfortunate the man was innocent, but what about the +5,000 innocent americans that fought and died doin there job. There is no protest for that. Trigger happy HA that comical, GARY you must have been a 30 year recruiter. GOOD JOB! It to funny the military will hang you out to dry, and would rather see 5 dead soldiers than one dead civilian. Good one america. Take care of the troops that take care of you.
I am sorry an innocent person was killed. However, vehicles are warned not to get too close to a military convoy. The reason is very clear. Cars packed with explosives are used constantly. I know this because my son is serving there now. The only time he has ever fired toward a vehicle was when one refused to stop and accelerated toward his convoy. He shot into the grill of the car and the vehicle stopped, went into reverse and that was the end of that.
Poor reporting and lots of misstatements of "facts" The ISAF gunner, could have received an order to open fire, if he fired on his own then he/she jumped a few steps in ROE, where pointing a 240B machine gun at an agressive driver usually produces brake-lights without firing in front of the vehicle then firing at the motor and wheels, before moving on to the driver's seat. Flares work well also day or night. Many cars do have heavily tinted windows, but a car packed with explosives will also sit low to the ground. The gunner should now be driving an MRAP. The kids survived and maybe twenty years from now they will want to kill an American, if we are still there they probably will try...Either Allah wills this to happen or he doesn't, who can say why?
I don't believe that anyone is justifying murdering an innocent man. The article is very basic and does not give all the details of the incident. We do not know what really happened because none of us were there. Until the details of this incident are revealed and it is determined that the car was parked or was moving towards the convoy only then will we know if the person acted responsibly or not.
I thought I miss-read the CNN news report so I read it again and confirmed that no where in the report says that the Mullah's car approached the American convoy at a high rate of speed, or that the Mullah failed to obey the warnings given to him by the rear truck gunner. BennyB, please read it and confirm it yourself. If you obtained your information somewhere else, please cite your source. I'm not disputing your statement, I just want to know what you said is based on facts or verifiable information. It is very important that we know the facts, otherwise we will just make the whole situation much more complicated.
It is very hipocritical for someone to justify murdering an innocent man, in this case a husband and father, for sitting in the car with his two kids. How would we like it if a foreign army occupied our nation and committed the same crime. Would we be blaming the poor innocent man or the heavily armed enemy that came from half-away the world.
As much as I am sorry to see things like this happen – I believe there are certain rules of engagement where a soldier can fire without provocation based on distance. If, like the report stated, the man was too close he can be considered a threat to the convoy, then fired is warranted. As a mother of a soldier who just returned from 12 months, under fire daily, in Afghanistan, I would rather have the troops be acting in a way that protects them and their fellow soldiers. As for being trigger happy – hopefully the investigation will prove that one way or the other. Let's stop bashing these poor men and women who are fighting for our freedom and safety and give them the honor and respect they deserve. We really don't know what it's like to be over there and every day when you wake up wondering if that will be the last day you wake up.
Do your homework on this story. One week ago, there were multiple, coordinated attacks in Kabul using suicide car bombers. Two days ago, a suicide car bomber attempted to kill 8 Americans at the gate of Camp Phoenix in Kabul using a minivan full of explosives. All the soldiers survived. Today, a few hundred meters from the site of that attack, the Mullah's car approached an American convoy at a high rate of speed, and the Mullah was killed when he failed to obey the warnings given to him by the rear truck gunner. The soldier who fired was in fear for his life. Suicide car bombers are frequent in Kabul. This loss of life was very regrettable, but it is rare in Kabul for any soldier to fire on a person in a car. Before you judge and blame your brave soldiers, try putting yourself in our place. We have seconds to decide. Make the wrong decison and we are either dead or we are crucified by the media. So, do your homework, and try living a day in our shoes before you judge us. Gary, you are no professional soldier, and you have no concept of what that means. Soldiers are not politicians; nor are we policy makers. We try to survive each day, protect our buddies and do our jobs. Our critics have forever to second guess our decisions. The last thing we ever want to do is to kill an innocent person.
The death of the Cleric is highly regrettable and neither acceptable nor pardonable. It was pure cold-blooded murder of an innocent gentle religious person who was unarmed and who was sitting with his children !! A high level investigation must be carried out immediately and the trigger happy mosters must be brought to justice and must be summarily executed by firing squad in the centre of capital Kabul... A mere verbal apology is not acceptable and the family of the late Cleric must be compensated fully with millions of U.S.dollars. I suggest 16 million u.s.$ will be most appropriate taking into account the number of bullets fired by the "senseles murderers.
I mourn and weep for the respectable Cleric who cannot be brought back to life !! Nato forces "GO HOME" YOU ARE ALL SINNERS..
I am a mother of an American soldier in Afghanistan . I can honestly say I am not sure how I feel about the wars. I do know how it has affected my family. It weighs on your heart and mind all the time.It destroys marriages and lives in ways that no one can ever imagine. More needs to be done to take care of families here at home, the children without parents, spouses without each other , and parents without their children. Unless you have been in that position you can not comprehend.
When will we (US) do the right thing and leave. Focus on intelligence gathering and secret ops missions to stop future terrorist attacks, etc. I grew up thinking we were the smartest, most advanced military with undercover specialist who could do anything at any time. What a sham!
It was uncalled for... I know there are times when a soldier gets jumpy... But if the car is just sitting there, no wepon, no movement or anything. Not to mention if they didnt hit the first truck why would he go for the fourth? Its grave error in Judgement and The soldier should be reprimanded. (Court marsheld if neccecsary) Regardless of the war, these are civilians and this should not have happend.
If the guy had a gun, or was actually walking toward the convey then this I can understand.
But he was just sitting there. Not only will it inpire more hate but it will lead to more distrust and more fighting. Its mistakes like this that cost more lives. I thought that there was supposed to be a SAFTEY on the gun.
I'm just gonna leave it at that.
I can not believ e that people belive this war in Afgan is about capturing Bin Laden. Do you believe that all of a sudden all terrorists will give up when he is captured? Open your eyes. This war, and Iraq CAN NOT BE WON. NO ONE CAN DESTROY TERRORISM. We can put a dent in it and arm ourselves with knowledge and technology to try and weed them out the best we can... but it is IMPOSSIBLE to stop. I love my country and my people. I want the terrorists to all go to hell... but as all have said... vengance and retribution is what they are learning from us.
If ISAF isn't US military, then why am I – a soldier stationed in this area- authorized to wear an ISAF patch on my arm?
To those who claim to be professional soldiers I would ask that they reconsider what it means to be a professional. Maybe you have forgotten the feeling of being on the receiving end of a 7.62 round or of the concussion behind 80 lbs of explosives detonating 5 meters away. Soldiers are not perfect, they are human. Actions like the ones today with this Mullah are tragic. I wasn't there so I don't know everything that happened... Neither was the reporter that wrote this piece.. but I am in Afghanistan right now and I will tell you that you have seconds to make decisions and that those decisions stay with you for the rest of your life. Your Soldiers, no matter what country, deal with this day in and day out and have more courage than most of those who criticize them. We are not politicians. We do not decide who we will fight. We simply decide at some point in our lives that there is something greater than us that is worth fighting for. Many of you believe that you have this war figured out and in a few simple sentences posted on a website you provide the answers. Come over here and see how complicated it is before you lend your uneducated voice to the fight.
ISAF is all professional soldiers, the Brig. Gen is Canadian. I hope it wasn't our Canadian boys who had do to this :(
It actually makes no difference whether the ISAF or the Americans did the shooting. First off, U.S. is a member of NATO. Secondly, U.S. has come to symbolize the foreign military presence in Afghanistan. It is the perception that counts whether you like it or not. I hope this is not difficult to see.
Asking the Afghan people to hand over Bin Laden is like asking the residents of a town or city where a fugitive mass murderer is believed to be hiding in to turn him over to authority for the residents to be guaranteed of their safety and human rights. Besides, an overwhelming majority of the Afghan people do not subscribe to Bin Laden and Al Qaieda's philosophy and what they stand for. Even the Talibans (with the exeptions of a few) blamed Bin Laden for US/NATO invasion in 2001 and wanted to drive them out.
And we're the good guys? What a joke! They can outstay us, and our country will continue to go downhill as we pour human and financial treaure into thsi bottomless pit. Hopefully one day the peoples of this 'free' world will demand justice and acountability from its leaders.
What I've noticed, in posting like this, is that frequently when ISAF is used people assume it means the United States. ISAF means International Security Assistance Force. Our troops are the ones that are always accused when something bad happens. The problem is, most of the people making the ASS-umptions have probably never served in the military and prefer to armchair quarterback the incidents based on their skewed political views. The last time this much disinformation and blame on the troops was when the hippies, morons every one, blamed the U.S. Troops for Viet Nam. How dumb was that? I will point this out, the troops may do the shooting and the killing but the troops work for a civilian Government elected by the people of this nation. Whether you agree with it or not, YOU sent US to do the job through YOUR elected officials.
From the photo it looks like there are two different calibers (therefore two different guns) used. If so it's more than one soldier.
Emile I'm not sure where you get the idea we are as you say "spread democracy and Christianity with bombs, bayonets and drones" we are at war make no mistake about it. War is hell as they say, and people get killed, he should have stayed away from the convoy period. End of it.
Sure we are broke but we must remember why we are there – 9/11 – and we will catch Bin Laden – so I suggest we leave the lights on and you will still be able to read the Constitution.
Iraq is on the other hand different issue......
A tragic mistake, maybe even a screwup, committed by scared, trigger-happy young soldiers (who may be American–the article wasn't clear). Unfortunately this will keep happening so long as we have armed soldiers in a war zone that also happens to be where people live. It's inevitable. As one famous general said, "war is hell." We must support our troops; but should also continue to look for opportunities to complete the job and leave.
My boyfriend is based at Camp Phoenix. Yesterday there was a car bombing right outside the gates of the base, not even 100 meters away from the spot today's incident took place, so heightened security measures were put into effect.
The car wasn't parked as the article says. They were in a hurry to get in front of the convoy as to not get stuck behind them. When the car sped up towards the convoy, the convoy fired shots with the intention of disabling the car. Unfortunatly, Younas was fatally wounded in the process.
The incident yesterday left roughly 16 soldiers, civilians and local nationals injured. This comes first hand from a soldier who was works in the medical center and evaluated the injured people yesterday. (The news claims only 6.)
Therefore I find it completely understandable and 100% justified to take the measures they did to ensure the safety if the servicemen. Yes, it was a regretful loss, but how many more could have been lost if the military didn't take actons such as these?
(PS- my boyfriend approved this message)
This is just another example of the violence that Afghans have to go through everyday. In the end, the U.S./NATO end up looking like the bad guys and the Taliban get more recruits.
First off the ISAP is not part of any branch of the US Military. I do think it’s time to stop these “professional Solders” form being allowed to be around US military actions. I assume they wer hired by the US to supliment a shortage of US forces being deployed. These are paid combat troop that think the work above the law and do not work with the same ethics as do members of the US military.. They caused the US much embarrassment and problems in Iraq and now in Afghanistan. I’m not clear why they are necessary.
Closing I support our US military and respect what they are doing.
You can't leave trigger happy, scared soldiers patrol in cities where civilians are in harm's way. This type of incidents that happened quite to often insteado fo helping with the war effort, makes matters much worse and sorry just don't cut it. This war and Iraq have benn going on for far too long. There are more pressing issues here at home for us to be trying again and again to "spread democracy and Christianity" with bombs, bayonets and drones. The first thing, somebody with a bit of common sense should do is to try to correct a wrong doing and the wars have been a colossal mistake, ergo, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to konw that continuing to perpetuate a mistake will never result in a right. A mistkae will always be a mistake. We are broke, dead broke, morally and fiscally. It's time to end this nightmare, debacle before it do us in. A false sense of security should never trump our Constitution nor our devalued American values. Innocent civilians are the ones paying for the broken dishes. It's time to turn the lights off and head back home. I want my Constitution back again!
9/11 is all the reason for this..we are after justice..not for revenge. Mr. Gary, you are indeed not a profe$$ional soldier you are declaring this war is lost! Mission is not over yet until Bin Laden is in the hand of our real PROFESSIONAL soldiers/Marines/sailors/airmen.
The Czech Republic has soldiers in that area. Make sure you do your research before you blame American soldiers of any wrong doing. If American soldiers were on the convoy, the article would have read US-led convoy not a NATO-led convoy. And not to say that those soldiers were right, but place yourself in their shoes. What would you do if a vehicle approached your convoy and showed no signs of stopping? You only have a split second to react and take in information. Based on recent attacks, those troops had to assume the man in the vehicle was a suicide bomber and had to react accordingly. If they had not done what they did and if the man was in fact a suicide bomber, we would be reading another article about another convoy that was attacked. War is a very dirty business and there will always be casualties on both sides.
I'm curious to know what Gary's MOS was in the military. Sounds like something that would come from a person who did not serve in the combat arms. If he had, he would have reserved his comment. I did three rotations, Iraq and Afghanistan and Gary obviously has no clue as to what military personal face every day.
"Trigger Happy" in the 30 years of service you must have NEVER been involved with a war. People die in war get over it, we have lost alot of men and women they dont feel sorry for us!! While you are back here still angry or whining over stuff that cant be changed we still have soldiers fighting for OUR freedom while you sleep at night!!
Gary is anything but a professional soldier or you would not cast such disparaging remarks towards them.
Anyways, it absolutely sucks that the Taliban can kill civilians indiscriminately and puposefully and when the military accidently kills civilians they bend over backwards to apologize, they STILL have to endure "protests" and scorn from those whoKNOW better.
This is a response to to following comment made mby jerremy:
"Look, this is going to happen. But It wouldn't if they would just give us Bin Laden. Hand 'em over and we will leave. thats it. thats all the people have to do. Hand over bin laden, Thats it."
Who is "they"? and have you ever tought that maybe "they" don't have him? And
So, why don't these same people protest when the Taliban kills innocent civilians? I guess they think muslim on muslim violence is OK, but when a non-muslim hurts or insults a muslim the whole Islamic world is literally up in arms.
What if he was not a popular cleric? How many unknown people died just sitting with their children in a car because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time?
I am not blaming the soldier – I don't think he or she was just a trigger-happy sob out to kill someone. There must have been reasons for shooting, the aim could have been better, but in the battle sh.t does happen.
The issue is that the whole situation stinks. We don't want to be there, they don't want us there...
We need to do what Israelis are doing – build a wall. We stay here, you stay there, and until we learn to live with each other, that's the way it is going to be.
The ignorant, knee jerk reactions on this board are disgusting and irrational. The Taliban and Al Qeada have killed, tortured and brutalized geometrically more civilians DELIBERATELY than have been accidently killed by NATO. Don't drive too close to a convoy. DON'T DO IT. If you do you will be presumed to be a suicide bomber.
I have a friend who deployed to Afghanistan recently. Instead of speculation and guesswork, we should be supporting him and all of our troops there in Afghanistan. Keep them in mind and let's think of ways we here in the states can support them and make their jobs easier.
For all you that are "appalled" or "angry" that a US soldier opened fire on a vehicle that was "Too close" to a convoy... Ask yourself this..."When was the last time I or my buddy was blown up by a car bomb?' if you answered "Never", we in the military have a saying "STAY IN YOUR LANE" that means if you have never been in that situation... don't judge!
When they're waxed by the Taliban or Al Queda, which is most of the time, they never seem to complain. I wonder why?
We wonder how these terrorists are able to recruit so quickly. This is a tipical example. This man is dead for nothing, guess what his son's and mentee's are heading for the border right about now...This would never end. This stinks!!! Too many people dying..
Its always prudent to weigh the options and amke a choice. Muslims i have know are peacefull peaceful peaople auntil you wrong them and then return to apologise. aology is not in their businss. revenge is what they will be calling for. because if you kill one of their cleric, their shildren, chilschildren adn relatives friends will come after you.
Well that sucks. All it takes is one aw crap to wipe out all of the atta' boys. Although I would caution the angry rabble reading this to not jump to conclusions. It says NATO led convoy. It's in Kabul. Pretty good chance the guys in the convoy weren't Americans. Just saying...
Gary you are no professional soldier. You are a 30 year whiner. A professional soldier does his job and does not cry about it. You joined on your on accord and took an oath. Stop being such a punk.
I did not read anywhere in the article that the trigger-happy shooter was an American serviceman. Does anyone know if this is the case before they start trashing our military people?
Actions like this, not our freedoms, is why we are hated. Have we become the 'bad guys' that we all were taught about as kids?
ISAF – International Security Assistance Force, it was NOT American Soldiers. Do your homework Gary.
I'm sure the apology will go a long way toward healing the anger caused by this senseless murder.... NOT!!!).... This war is lost, we've made permanent enemies of too many people due to our trigger happy "professional soldiers" ... What a waste of lives and treasure... Thank You G.W. for putting us in this mess (and not finishing the job instead of / before invading Iraq)
Signed: Retired 30-year professional soldier
We need to pull out of these places where we are not wanted, pronto. The british in the 1900s, then the russians in the 1970's, now us.. need I say more?
May almighty Allah accept the late brother's good deeds and grant him paradise. The truck that opened fir must have done so out of preventive measures but i think more care sholud be taken in the future especially with kids in the car. May Alah grant respite to the people of Afghanistan.My prayers are with them and may Allah reward American soldiers that are in that country with the good intention of ONLY pursuing the taliban and not for selfish reasons
Look, this is going to happen. But It wouldn't if they would just give us Bin Laden. Hand 'em over and we will leave. thats it. thats all the people have to do. Hand over bin laden, Thats it.
And, just what was this cleric's position regarding the implementation of Sharia law?
Guess the Taliban can count his two young sons joining them in a few years. Yay USA!
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