US military offers sheep as apology for killings in Afghanistan

The World

In rural village of Khataba, Afghanistan, one bereaved man, scarred more than most by the war, became the recipient of an unusual American apology.

The top U.S. special operations commander Afghanistan, Vice Adm. William McRaven traveled to the village to ask for forgiveness. He offered condolences to Haji Sharabuddin, the patriarch of a family that lost five members when a U.S. special forces raid went awry. But it wasn’t the personal appearance of top brass that made the moment so unusual, it was that the American forces made a traditional Afghan offering of two sacrificial sheep.

The family is reported to have accepted the apology, though they did ask for the U.S. to turn over the “spy” who gave the faulty information to the military which resulted in the civilian deaths.

Dr. Thomas Connell is know as “Dr. Culture” and is teaching U.S. troops cultural competency. He explains what this incident shows about the military’s intent and ability to engage local civilians in positive ways on their terms.

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