Afghan Civilian Slayings

The news reports say he was methodical stalking from home to home in rural Afghanistan, killing 16 civilians, most of them children. A U.S. Army Sgt is now in custody but his killing spree has released a range of emotions in a war-weary country already outraged at actions by other U.S. soldiers. Today, we're looking at the potential fallout of yesterday's civilian massacre in Afghanistan's Panjwai district, at a time of growing civilian impatience and fragile efforts at peace plans.



Part One of The Current

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It's Monday March 12th.

Economists say a serious labour crunch in Canada is made worse by a work force with poor and stunted social skills.

Currently a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's office says "economists are a bunch of stupid, stupidheads. Don't know nothin' 'bout what's-good-for Canada."

This is The Current.

Afghan Civilian Slayings - Reporter in Kabul

The details that are known are chilling, and horrific. A U.S. soldier who walked off his base in southern Afghanistan and headed straight to Kandahar's Panjwayi district, where he entered three civilian homes and opened fire. Sixteen people, including nine children, were killed.

This morning, an American staff sergeant remains in custody after the attack that many are describing as unprecedented and isolated. But U.S. and NATO forces remain in damage control, trying desperately to quell public anger and prevent potential reprisal attacks.

Kate Clark is a longtime journalist based in Afghanistan, who reports for the Afghanistan Analysts Network based in Kabul, where we reached her.

Afghan Civilian Slayings - Panel

Sunday's massacre could have significant implications for the already tense relations between the Afghan government and the 90,000-strong American force there.

But some observers worry it could also make things more dangerous for other foreigners still working in the country, including nearly 1,000 Canadian military advisers there. Not to mention the impact this incident might have on potential peace talks with the Taliban or the overall legacy of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

The shocking killing of 16 civilians also raises questions about the psychological impact of this war on the soldiers on the ground.

Janine Krieber teaches politics at the Royal Military College in St-Jean, Quebec. We reached her in Montreal. And Scott Taylor is the Canadian publisher and editor of Esprit De Corps magazine and the author of Unembedded. He was in Ottawa. And Tim Laidler is a returned Afghan veteran who is now studying counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he's the Co-ordinator of the Veterans Transition Program.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino.

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