General: Special Forces Unit Should Have Stayed In Afghanistan

The commander of Marine Corps special forces says that a company involved in the shooting of Afghan civilians responded appropriately to an ambush.

Major General Dennis J. Hejlik says the company should not have been pulled out of the country.

Eight members of the company were ordered back to Camp Lejeune after the March 4th incident, and the rest were told to leave Afghanistan and return to ships in the Persian Gulf.

Hejlik stops short of clearing the Marines of any blame, saying he couldn't speak to what may have happened after the initial ambush, when the unit was returning to their base.

The shootings left as many as 19 civilians dead and 50 injured. A preliminary military investigation found that the Marines used excessive force and referred the incident for possible criminal inquiry.

A legal tribunal investigating the incident has been postponed until mid-January.