We, AAAWA (Afghan American Artists and Writers Association), a NYC based group condemn the March 11th massacre of innocent Afghans in the village of Panjwai, Kandahar province. We demand a full investigation of the events and full disclosure of all information. The US Army’s explanation that a lone mad gunman was responsible is unacceptable not only because it is not in keeping with witness accounts but also because it evades the larger problem.
As recent incidences of Quran-burning, Kill Team, and urinating on the bodies of deceased Afghans demonstrate, this tragic killing of innocent Afghan villagers is endemic of the institutionalized racism and Islamophobia that is embedded in the overall culture of war that the US Army breeds in Afghanistan. There is a general lack of cross-cultural understanding and cultural sensitivity whereby Afghans are dehumanized.
We demand that the US Army take full responsibility and accountability, charge all those implicated in the chain of command (not only low-level army personnel like the cases in Iraq and Guantanamo), and pay reparations to the families of the victims. The army also must re-assess its failed counter-insurgency policies of launching aerial bombings and night raids against small villages which has caused the loss of innocent lives. This policy will only create more support for the Taliban and other extremists. We are calling for respect for the lives, dignity, and culture of Afghan people.