Afghan lawmakers expressed anger Thursday over the move by the U.S. to fly an American soldier accused of killing 16 civilians out of the country to nearby Kuwait, noting that Kabul should not sign a strategic partnership agreement with Washington unless the alleged perpetrator faces justice in Afghanistan, The Associated Press reported.
According to the news outlet, negotiations over the agreement, which would govern the presence of the U.S. military in Afghanistan after most combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014, were tense, even prior to the shootings.
The U.S. military said that the soldier’s transfer out of the country did not preclude the possibility of trying the case in Afghanistan, but this did not appease many Afghan leaders.
“It was the demand of the families of the martyrs of this incident, the people of Kandahar and the people of Afghanistan to try him publicly in Afghanistan,” Mohammad Naeem Lalai Hamidzai, a Kandahar lawmaker who is part of a parliamentary commission investigating the shootings, said in a statement.
CNN reported that Afghans took to the streets of one city Thursday to demand the prosecution of the U.S. soldier in the country, and one lawmaker accused the Americans of showing “a fake video…to convince the Afghan people that it was the act of only one soldier.”