At least nineteen Afghan civilians were allegedly killed with United States marines opened fire after their convoy was hit by a car bomb in the Nangarhar province. An inquiry by the Afghan government said that US troops fired indiscriminately.
However, the marines have said they were fired upon and the civilians were caught in the crossfire. The tribunal has been opened to see if two officers should face charges for the death of the 19 Afghan civilians.
The tribunal was formed to find facts focused on the actions of both Major Fred C. Galvin and Captain Vincent J. Noble. It will recommend whether or not both officers should be charged with conspiring to make a false official statement, dereliction of duty, failure to obey a lawful order, and making a false official statement.
The decision will ultimately be made by the commander of the USMC forces in the Central Command area, which includes the nation of Afghanistan.
These troops were form the Marine Special Operations Command which was a newly-formed unit. The troops were on Highway 1 near Jalalabad on March 4, 2007. Their six-man convoy was rammed by a van full of explosives.
According to the soldiers, they had come under fire after the explosives in the van had gone off. However, an inquiry by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission said differently.
The inquiry had cited reports from witnesses saying that the marines were first to open fire and fired indiscriminately at both pedestrians and vehicles in six different directions.
The US military had made a controversial move afterwards. They called eight marines back to the US while the other members of the unit were removed from Afghanistan.