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US soldier held in fatal shooting of Afghanistan detainee

A US soldier is currently being held in connection with the fatal shooting on Sunday of a Taliban detainee, who was found dead in a holding cell in Kandahar province, according to US Forces in Afghanistan [JURIST news archives]. The US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) [official website] and Afghanistan officials have launched individual investigations [WSJ report] into the death. Officials stated that detainee, Mullah Muhibullah, was a senior leader of the Taliban network in Arghandab district in Kandahar province. Afghan officials stated that Mullah was shot after US officials removed four or five other detainees from the holding cell. Soldiers heard the gunshot while transferring the other detainees and found Mullah dead when the finally reached the cell. Arghandab is currently the focus of a major US-led military offensive to dislodge the Taliban from its strategic stronghold in Kandahar province. Mullah was detained after being arrested during an Taliban operation on Saturday night.

Civilian deaths caused by US soldiers have also become an issue in Afghanistan. Earlier this week, the US Army announced that a US soldier accused of killing three Afghan civilians in an unprovoked rogue assault earlier this year will face a court-martial [JURIST reports] for premeditated murder. Specialist Jeremy Morlock of Joint Base Lewis McChord [official website] is one of five soldiers accused of murdering the civilians in separate incidents between January and May in Kandahar province. The Army announced in May that its Criminal Investigation Command was opening an investigation [JURIST report] into the civilian deaths in Kandahar. The charges are the latest in a number of incidents involving US soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

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