US military investigates 'death squad' accused of murdering Afghans
Added under Afghanistan/Pakistan
The US military is investigating the leadership of an army brigade whose soldiers are accused of running a "kill team" that murdered Afghan civilians, as further evidence emerges of widespread complicity in the deaths.
A brigadier general is conducting a "top to bottom" review of the 5th Stryker brigade after five of its soldiers were committed for trial early next year charged with involvement in the murders of three Afghans and other alleged crimes including mutilating their bodies, and collecting fingers and skulls from corpses as trophies.
Among the issues under investigation is the failure of commanders to intervene when the alleged crimes were apparently widely spoken about among soldiers.
Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, the alleged leader of what prosecutors have characterized as a death squad based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, is accused of planning the alleged murders in which civilians were killed with hand grenades and guns and their deaths made to appear to be legitimate battlefield casualties. Gibbs, 26, has denied three charges of murder and other crimes.
Four other soldiers are charged with involvement in at least one of the three murders over a five-month period this year. They include an army specialist, Adam Winfield, whose lawyer has released a Facebook chat between the soldier and his father, Christopher, that suggests many other soldiers in the brigade approved of the killings.
Sources: Guardian (UK)
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