“Kill Team” Soldier Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison
Days after Der Spiegel published three trophy photos taken by the US Army 'Kill Team' which allegedly murdered innocent Afghan civilians, the first soldier has made a plea bargain. Jeremy Morlock was sentenced to 24 years in prison by a military tribunal in exchange for testifying against his fellow soldiers, a group of 12 who are accused of the hideous actions. During the trial, Morlock revealed some of the more horrifying elements of their actions:
During the hearing, Morlock described some of the details of the murders. The unit would go out on patrol in a Stryker vehicle, nicknamed the "Kevlar coffin" because of how unsuitable the slow, noisy armoured vehicle is for use in Afghanistan. Once in a village, Morlock revealed how he hid behind a wall with one of his co-defendants as an Afghan approached them. Morlock then allegedly armed a grenade and threw it towards the victim in such a way as to suggest it was the Afghan who was attacking them. The victim was then shot, supposedly in self-defense, by another soldier.
Reports have claimed the atmosphere after a killing was jubilant, with the soldiers in high spirits and excitedly regaling each other with their own versions of what had happened. In a sad irony, the soldiers were supposed to be carrying out the American strategy of counterinsurgency, or COIN, by protecting and befriending the Afghan population in the dangerous region around Kandahar.
Morlock was charged with three counts of murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and illegal drug use. He'll be up for parole in seven years.