By Chris Lawrence
The Pentagon continued to call the mass shooting in Afghanistan "an isolated incident," and that the overall mission has not changed. "Despite what some are saying, we not changing our fundamental strategy," says Pentagon spokesman George Little.
Little's comments echoed that of administration officials assertion to White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar that the massacre will not derail discussions on the role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw.Little said the soldier was never in the custody of Afghan forces, and will not face punishment under the Afghan justice system. The suspect, a soldier who supported a Green Beret unit conducting village stability operations, was moved to a larger base from the outpost where he was detained.
"The US military has strong means to address wrongdoing. There is an agreement in place with the government of Afghanistan, so that the investigation – and when appropriate, prosecution – will be done through US military channels," Little said.
The Pentagon spokesman said an investigative team is already working to uncover a notice and the means by which the soldier left the combat outpost and entered the villages where the shootings occurred.
"They are prepared for a potential criminal prosecution," Little added. He also indicated the Pentagon would not release the name of the soldier until charges were formally brought against him, but indicated that the soldier's family had been notified.
This shooting comes after furious protests erupted when the US military accidentally burned Korans at a base in Afghanistan, and video of US Marines urinating on Afghan corpses circulated widely over the internet.
Little said recent polls that show a lack of American support for the war will not impact the strategy.
"We are not conducting this war effort by polls. We are not going to be guided by polls, which can change on a daily if not hourly basis," Little said.