US soldier faces trial in Afghanistan

A
US Army serviceman accused of murdering at least three unarmed Afghan
civilians for fun is to face trial in a military court in Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs is one of the five US soldiers charged
with killing three Afghan civilians in Kandahar Province last year.

The 25-year-old is said to have led the kill team to randomly execute Afghan civilians while on patrol.

His charges include three counts of premeditated murder, conspiracy
and keeping body parts such as teeth, fingers and leg bones as war
trophies.

If convicted, Gibbs will face a maximum punishment of life in prison.

The case is one of the most serious prosecutions of war atrocities
committed by American troops in Afghanistan since the start of the
US-led invasion in 2001.

The Afghan interior ministry said on last Sunday that 2010 was the
deadliest year for civilians since the invasion of the country nine
years ago and more than 2,000 Afghans lost their lives in violence
across Afghanistan.

The issue of civilian casualties has caused friction between
Washington and the Afghan government. The rising number of civilian
casualties has also increased anti-US sentiments in the troubled region.

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