Accused soldier in Kandahar killings flown out of Afghanistan

The U.S. sergeant accused in the deaths of 16 Afghans has been flown out of the country. The destination of the flight was not disclosed.

The announcement was made late at night and there has been no comment yet from Afghan officials. Afghan legislators have been demanding that the soldier be tried in Afghan courts. However, in Afghanistan U.S. soldiers are subject to U.S. military law. The U.S. would never allow him to be tried by Afghans.

The announcement comes as U.S. defence secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan to meet with commanders and local officials. A Pentagon spokesperson said that the sergeant was flown out"based on a legal recommendation...We do not have appropriate detention facilities in Afghanistan,".. "in this kind of case". Translated I think this means that the U.S. is very worried that attempts might be made by Afghans to get at the sergeant causing more conflict with Afghans if he were to stay in Afghanistan. However the result of this move may be to anger the populace even further.

A U.S. official would only say the accused had been taken to a "pretrial confinement facility" in another country but would not identify the country. The Afghan government however was notified of the move. No word as to whether the Afghans objected.

While one military official said the transfer did not mean the trial would take place outside of Afghanistan another official said legal proceedings would continue in his place of detention. For more see this Al Jazeera article.

UPDATE: The soldier was flown to Kuwait


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