Ashgabat, 12 March 2012 (nCa) — In the early hours of Sunday, one or more American soldier(s) left their base in Punjwai, some 35 km west of Kandhar, with the express intention to murder unarmed women and children.
The accounts differ. Taliban say it was a group of drunken soldiers, the ISAF says it was a lone slaughterer.
Whether it was one soldier or several, the mission was well planned. There were at hand enough arms and ammunition to murder large number of civilians and also the means to burn their dead bodies.
The number of casualties is still uncertain: if you trust the Taliban, there were about 45 deaths, if you listen to the Afghan government, the death toll was 16.
Central Asia, a region sensitive to developments in Afghanistan, is watching carefully. Instead of being judgmental, the decision-makers in Central Asia tend to be analytical. Here are some of the likely conclusions they might draw from Punjwai massacre:
- If the Americans can do this in Afghanistan, they can certainly do it in Central Asia if given the basing rights with prolonged presence.
- Looking at the past pattern, the US government would do almost nothing to either punish the culprits in proportion to their crime, or take effective measures to prevent such outrage to take place in future. On both counts, Central Asia is expected to harden its stance against any more cooperation with the USA, with the possible exception of Uzbekistan.
- Most of the victims of the Punjwai (also spelled Panjwayi) massacre were children and women. This would make Central Asia contemplate on how far they can go in putting their own children and women in the harm’s way.
- The American Centres across Central Asia would come under closer scrutiny ——- If these are the ‘American values’ (pumping bullets into sleeping children and women), how far the Americans should be allowed to teach these ‘values’ to the Central Asian youth.
- A web of lies is already being woven around this incident. Central Asia would be prompted to think where else they are being lied to by the Americans.
To be continued . . .