The US Army soldiers charged with forming a “kill team” to randomly execute Afghan civilians may have killed a fourth person, but it appears no charges will be laid in that incident, the Washington Post reported Wednesday
According to court documents obtained by the Post, the accused soldiers were involved in a Jan. 28 incident that left an Afghan male dead. The paper reports:
[Staff Sgt. Calvin R.] Gibbs and other members from his unit shot and killed the fourth unarmed Afghan on Jan. 28. Some soldiers told investigators that platoon members planted ammunition next to the body so their superiors would rule the shooting justifiable….
Army criminal investigators later decided not to press murder charges, citing soldiers’ stated fears that the Afghan may have been a suicide bomber and determining that they had given appropriate warnings before using deadly force.
According to the two soldiers’ statements, however, the Afghan made no aggressive movements and there was no sign he was armed. Some unit members said they placed a magazine from an AK-47 rifle next to the corpse “to give the appearance the Afghan was an insurgent,” according to an investigator’s report.
In all, five soldiers have been charged with participating in the alleged plot to form a “kill team” that would randomly assassinate Afghan civilians. The Post reports that four of the soldiers have given sworn statements that Staff Sgt. Gibbs “was the one who came up with the idea of targeting Afghan civilians at random and developing cover stories.”
The paper also reports that Staff Sgt. Gibbs revealed a tattoo to investigators showing a pair of crossed pistols with six skulls surrounding them, three blue and three red. Gibbs reportedly told investigators the blue skulls represented his kills in Afghanistan, while the red ones represented kills in Afghanistan.
Read the full Washington Post report here.