Army 'ignored warning on soldiers' plot to kill Afghans'

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The Independent US

The father of a US soldier serving in Afghanistan says he tried several times to pass an urgent message from his son to the Army: troops in his unit had murdered an Afghan civilian, planned more killings and threatened him to keep quiet about it.

By the time officials arrested suspects months later, two more Afghans were dead. And Christopher Winfield's son, Adam, was among the five Fort Lewis-based soldiers charged in the killings.

The elder Winfield said that his son did not kill the unarmed man and would never have been in the situation if the Army had investigated the warnings he says he passed along.

An Army spokeswoman at the base said she could not comment on whether they received such a tip or, if so, whether it was acted on.

The soldiers have been accused of conspiracy and premeditated murder. The highest ranking of them is Staff sergeant Calvin Gibbs, who, along with Corporal Jeremy Morlock, is accused of taking part in all three killings.

Private first class Andrew Holmes is charged with murder in the first killing, and specialist Michael Wagnon is charged in another.

Winfield is charged with murder in the final killing.

All of the soldiers deny the charges.