Please Don't Hurt My Heart


Despite allegations that members of a rogue Stryker platoon engaged
in a monthslong drug and murder spree while stationed at a small forward
base in Afghanistan, no leaders or officers responsible for the platoon
have been charged or disciplined in the case and the Army will not
confirm whether any are under investigation.

In what is developing
as the worst American war crimes case to emerge from the nearly
9-year-old Afghan war, five soldiers of the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat
Team are facing potential courts-martial on various charges that they
killed three unarmed Afghan civilians for sport between January and May
this year in the Maiwand District near Kandahar City.

allege that some of the accused soldiers then posed for photos with the
corpses and collected body parts as souvenirs. Another seven members of
the platoon face related charges of drug abuse, assault and attempting
to cover up the alleged crimes. 

It was difficult enough for the people of western Kandahar Province. They are beleaguered both by the Taliban,
who control the roads, demand taxes and execute anyone suspected of
disloyalty, and by the American military, who often show little regard
for people and whose demands that locals stand up to the insurgents seem

Some 30,000 American soldiers are taking part in the Afghanistan surge.
Here are the stories of the men and women of First Battalion, 87th

Notes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other areas of conflict in the post-9/11 era. Go to the Blog »

Still, there was no reason to anticipate something far worse: American
soldiers suspected of being a sadistic rogue band led by Sgt. Calvin

For Mullah Allah Dad, a poppy farmer and the mullah of a hamlet of just
15 homes in Kandahar Province, the end came quickly. He was sipping tea
when he heard screams, and several of his children ran in. American
soldiers in tanks were coming, they told him. Moments later, two young
soldiers came in and grabbed him, his wife, Mora, said.

Mr. Qayoum, at the request of The New York Times, went to ask
Gulbaddin’s father if he would discuss his son’s death. His response was
the cry of every father who has lost his child.

“Don’t talk about my son,” said Gulbaddin’s father. “My mind is not
ready even to hear his name. Even you mentioning his name makes me angry
and puts my heart in pain. Please, please don’t hurt my heart.”

Some 30,000 American soldiers are taking part in the Afghanistan surge.
Here are the stories of the men and women of First Battalion, 87th
Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division. Over the next year, The New York
Times will follow their journey. 

noble generation of heroes



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