And if you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
In Afghanistan today, the Taliban has launched a string of attacks across the country, including coordinated strikes in the capital, Kabul, that hit near western targets and Afghan government buildings. The Taliban says today's attack marks the beginning of what they call the spring fighting season, the period after the winter thaw when mountain passes and roads become accessible again.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
We're learning more about the American staff sergeant accused of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan. Last night, his lawyer said the soldier did not want to go to Afghanistan, his fourth deployment for the Army. He had been wounded twice and he didn't think he was healthy enough to deploy. The attorney didn't release the soldier's name, but did say he was the father of two young children and added that the soldier's family was totally shocked by the allegations against him.
The deaths of Afghan civilians, who were allegedly shot by an American soldier, could make the U.S. mission even harder. Here, an Afghan soldier leaves a home where civilians were killed Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar.
It's unlikely that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, will drastically alter the course of the war.
U.S. and NATO strategy calls for a sizable contingent of international troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, with residual support after that. That timetable is unlikely to change.
But the task U.S. forces face in trying to stabilize the country could well be made more difficult by the shootings.
U.S. soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai village.
Credit JangirAFP / Getty Images
The Taliban have vowed to avenge the deaths of 16 civilians in Afghanistan, allegedly shot by a U.S. soldier in a rampage through villages near Kandahar.
According to The Associated Press, the Afghan militia on its website called the attack a "blood-soaked and inhumane crime" and the attackers "sick-minded American savages." It promised to seek revenge "for every single martyr with the help of Allah."