US soldier Accused of Afghan Massacre Flown to Kuwait

The US soldier accused of massacring 16 civilians in Afghanistan has been flown out of the country to an American base in Kuwait.

The US soldier accused of massacring 16 civilians in Afghanistan has been flown out of the country to an American base in Kuwait.

U.S. soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a U.S. base in the Panjwai district of Kandahar

The military said the unnamed staff sergeant had been transferred because there were no suitable facilities for long-term detention in Afghanistan but the move signalled the US's desire to prevent the criminal case against him from becoming a flashpoint for further violence.

The decision is likely to provoke fury in Afghanistan, where MPs have demanded that the soldier be handed over to the Afghan justice system and called on President Hamid Karzai to suspend all talks with the US until that happens.

Many fear a misstep by the US military in handling the case could ignite a firestorm in Afghanistan that would shatter already tense relations between the two countries. The alliance appeared near breaking point last month when the burning of Qurans in a garbage pit at a U.S. base sparked protests and retaliatory attacks that killed more than 30 people, including six US soldiers.

In recent days the two nations made headway toward an agreement governing a long-term American presence here, but the massacre in Kandahar province on Sunday has called all such negotiations into question.

Afghan lawmakers have demanded that the soldier be publicly tried in Afghanistan to show that he was being brought to justice, calling on President Hamid Karzai to suspend all talks with the US until that happens.

The military said the unnamed staff sergeant had been transferred because there were no suitable facilities for long-term detention in Afghanistan but the move signalled the US's desire to prevent the criminal case against him from becoming a flashpoint for further violence.

The decision is likely to provoke fury in Afghanistan, where MPs have demanded that the soldier be handed over to the Afghan justice system and called on President Hamid Karzai to suspend all talks with the US until that happens.

Many fear a misstep by the US military in handling the case could ignite a firestorm in Afghanistan that would shatter already tense relations between the two countries. The alliance appeared near breaking point last month when the burning of Qurans in a garbage pit at a U.S. base sparked protests and retaliatory attacks that killed more than 30 people, including six US soldiers.

In recent days the two nations made headway toward an agreement governing a long-term American presence here, but the massacre in Kandahar province on Sunday has called all such negotiations into question.

Afghan lawmakers have demanded that the soldier be publicly tried in Afghanistan to show that he was being brought to justice, calling on President Hamid Karzai to suspend all talks with the US until that happens.