Mar. 16 - Afghan President Karzai lashes out at the United States for failing to cooperate with the investigation into a massacre of 16 Afghan villagers allegedly by a U.S. staff sergeant. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets the tribal elders from the area where a U.S. staff sergeant allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians. He lashes out at the United States, saying it has failed to fully cooperate with an investigation in the shooting spree. The massacre came the inadvertent burning of copies of the Koran at a NATO base last month, straining an already tense relationship. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI SAYING: "This has been going on for too long. You have heard me before. Therefore, it is by all means the end of the rope here. The end of the rope - nobody can afford such luxuries any more if you can call it luxury. This form of activity, this behavior can not be tolerated. It has passed, passed, passed the time." As he met with family members of those who were killed, he also questioned whether it was the work of one soldier. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI SAYING: "On the question of the account of the one person supposedly who has done this, the story of the village elders and the affected is entirely different. They believe it is not possible for one person to do that. In his family (pointing to one of family members) in four rooms people were killed. Children and women were killed and then they were all brought together in one room and then put on fire. That one man can not do. (EDIT) the Afghan investigation team did not receive the cooperation that they expected from the United State. Therefore, these are all question that will be raising and raising very loudly and raising very clearly." With twin investigations still underway by both U.S. and Afghan officials, any discovery of more than one soldier involved in the massacre would be a disaster for NATO, with Western leaders needing to win over Afghans ahead of a withdrawal by most foreign combat troops in 2014. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.