Mar. 15 - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta promises justice for the killing of 16 Afghan civilians amid reports the suspect has been moved to Kuwait. Deborah Gembara reports.
The person responsible for the massacre of 16 Afghan villagers will be brought to justice. This was the promise U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made to Afghan president Hamid Karzai on the second day of his trip to do damage control in the country. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying: "I again pledged to him that we are proceeding with a full investigation here and that we will bring the individual involved to justice and he accepted that." While locals in Kandahar province have called for a trial in Afghanistan, NATO and U.S. officials confirmed the suspect has been transferred to Kuwait. Panetta didn't address the move directly. He told reporters in Kabul, he anticipates an uptick in violence against coalition forces. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying: "There is no question we are going to tested, we will continue to be tested in months ahead, this is a war and we will continue to, I am sure, see incidents of violence of one kind or another but the key is how we respond and how we are able to confront those kinds of challenges and how we are able to maintain the forward movement and forward progress that we have achieved." The killings have raised questions about the west's strategy in Afghanistan and intensified calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.