Panetta: Death penalty possible in Afghan massacre

By REUTERS
March 13, 2012 13:06




ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT - US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday that the death penalty could be sought over the massacre of 16 villagers in Afghanistan, which US officials said they believe was the work of a rogue American soldier.

The shooting spree in the southern province of Kandahar, which killed mostly women and children, has triggered angry calls from Afghans for an immediate American exit from the country, as Washington tries to negotiate a long-term presence to keep it from sliding into chaos again.

Panetta, however, attempted to portray the shooting as an isolated event that would not alter plans for a gradual, orderly withdrawal of American combat forces by the end of 2014.

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