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Rolling Stone Exclusive: Afghanistan Kill Zone

How U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan murdered innocent civilians and mutilated their corpses – and how their officers failed to stop them. Plus: An exclusive look at the war crime photos censored by the Pentagon.

Take a few minutes and read the investigative report at Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone

Early last year, after six hard months soldiering in Afghanistan, a group of U.S. infantrymen reached a momentous decision: It was finally time to kill a haji.

Among the men of Bravo Company, the notion of killing an Afghan civilian had been the subject of countless conversations, during lunchtime chats and late-night bull sessions. For weeks, they had weighed the ethics of bagging "savages" and debated the probability of getting caught. Some of them agonized over the idea; others were gung-ho from the start. But not long after the New Year, as winter descended on the arid plains of Kandahar Province, they agreed to stop talking and actually pull the trigger.

Bravo Company had been stationed in the area since summer, struggling, with little success, to root out the Taliban and establish an American presence in one of the most violent and lawless regions of the country. On the morning of January 15th, the company's 3rd Platoon – part of the 5th Stryker Brigade, based out of Tacoma, Washington – left the mini-metropolis of tents and trailers at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in a convoy of armored Stryker troop carriers. The massive, eight-wheeled trucks surged across wide, vacant stretches of desert, until they came to La Mohammad Kalay, an isolated farming village tucked away behind a few poppy fields.

To provide perimeter security, the soldiers parked the Strykers at the outskirts of the settlement, which was nothing more than a warren of mud-and-straw compounds. Then they set out on foot. Local villagers were suspected of supporting the Taliban, providing a safe haven for strikes against U.S. troops. But as the soldiers of 3rd Platoon walked through the alleys of La Mohammad Kalay, they saw no armed fighters, no evidence of enemy positions. Instead, they were greeted by a frustratingly familiar sight: destitute Afghan farmers living without electricity or running water; bearded men with poor teeth in tattered traditional clothes; young kids eager for candy and money. It was impossible to tell which, if any, of the villagers were sympathetic to the Taliban. The insurgents, for their part, preferred to stay hidden from American troops, striking from a distance with IEDs.

While the officers of 3rd Platoon peeled off to talk to a village elder inside a compound, two soldiers walked away from the unit until they reached the far edge of the village. There, in a nearby poppy field, they began looking for someone to kill. "The general consensus was, if we are going to do something that fucking crazy, no one wanted anybody around to witness it," one of the men later told Army investigators.

The poppy plants were still low to the ground at that time of year. The two soldiers, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and Pfc. Andrew Holmes, saw a young farmer who was working by himself among the spiky shoots. Off in the distance, a few other soldiers stood sentry. But the farmer was the only Afghan in sight. With no one around to witness, the timing was right. And just like that, they picked him for execution.

He was a smooth-faced kid, about 15 years old. Not much younger than they were: Morlock was 21, Holmes was 19. His name, they would later learn, was Gul Mudin, a common name in Afghanistan. He was wearing a little cap and a Western-style green jacket. He held nothing in his hand that could be interpreted as a weapon, not even a shovel. The expression on his face was welcoming. "He was not a threat," Morlock later confessed.

Continue reading at Rolling Stone...




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Reader Comments (10)

'Death Squad': Full horror emerges of how rogue U.S. brigade murdered and mutilated innocent Afghan civilians - and kept their body parts as trophies

Mar 28, 2011 at 11:49 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Still making more friends!!
Mar 29, 2011 at 12:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTR
I am an American citizen. My Father and Grandfather fought in both world wars. What I am seeing here is sickening. Our military has no business in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Libya. We shouldn't be fighting the so called War on Drugs in Mexico and South America. These wars are making the United States a banana republic. We have killed more people in these foreign countries than we have helped and have made enemies in most of the world. When the troops don't understand what we are fighting for they start to think it is all a giant video game. Killing for the fun of it, Killing for sport becomes vogue. Most of our troops are wholesome young hero's. It is our worthless scum leaders that are willing to sacrifice our young and their young and even make murderers of a few, for profit of a few big elite profiteers. I find Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter, Johnson, Nixon, Regan and Bush repugnant puppets for these profiteers. Real American patriots would never allow this repulsive behavior. Our once great nation was the shinning city on the hill, we have toppled to the scourge you see today. I am ashamed to be an American. Our last true American leader was Kennedy and when he died so did the American dream. America today sucks
Mar 29, 2011 at 1:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterjack nichols
well said jack...
Mar 29, 2011 at 1:56 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
TOTAL lack of discipline and concept of war. I guess war has turned into a video game. Heads should roll, not with the grunts, but with the officers who allow this.
Mar 29, 2011 at 7:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterInurface
Look at him smiling, this guy is really enjoying this, having fun with the guy's, smoking another "terrorist".
I've seen american democracy in Serbia in '99 thinking that by bombing you can resolve everything. Please don't anybody tell me that talks didn't work out and that Milosevic was asking for it. Wesley Clark admitted in his biography that preparations were well underway at least a year before the bombing started on the 24 of march. One get's the idea that your leaders and generals are f**king eager to start bombing for democracy, never minding the deaths of hundreds / thousands of innocent victims! What is this with you people??? Why? I've just read that the majority of americans supports the action against Libya.....when's enough enough????? EVER??
Mar 29, 2011 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRade
Thats a fifteen year old boy who was doing nothing more than working in his fathers farm at the time. If anyone did that to my son, particularly a foreign invader, there would be hell to pay. I would kill every American I could find
Mar 29, 2011 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Meaney
Let's hope this RS story gains traction...these are the types of articles that can start to sway public opinion...
Mar 29, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Officials of the U.S. military need to set an example of having soldiers like these executed! This is way beyond sick and I believe there are many other soldiers that share identical mentalities like this. As an American this is very, very shameful. The fear is put on Muslims and so called "terrorist" in America but I would much more be terrified by MFs like this who come back from duty and are freely walking the streets.
Mar 30, 2011 at 4:18 AM | Unregistered Commenterbo2
North American Shame, really, in my country (Argentina) have many problems, but the images I see, our problems do not compare to this atrocity, unfortunately God will do pay those who did this as well as to the people by the lack of action . At a time (many years) I admired U.S. but today I feel repulse and make me sick. May God protect us from people like you "NORTH AMERICAN PEOPLE". (in GOD we trust???... yes... but I don't think GOD trust anymore in your people). God save you.....
Jan 31, 2012 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterWilliams

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