ABC News- In the dusty Afghan village where U.S. troops killed two pregnant women and three other innocent civilians in February, a remarkable scene played out this week between an aggrieved father and the most senior special operations officer in the United States military.
Vice Admiral William McRaven — the commander of Joint Special Operations Command — showed up with two sheep, and in the cultural understanding of the region, surrendered himself.
He didn’t literally surrender. But he didn’t have to. In the code followed by the southeastern Afghan family so devastated by the February incident, offering two sheep is the equivalent of begging for forgiveness.
And the father — who has lost two sons, two daughters and one grandchild — accepted McRaven’s apology.
Presenting sheep is such a powerful form of requesting forgiveness that the father is now obligated not to take revenge, even though he has told reporters he wanted to become a suicide bomber.
“We were very happy he came to our house,” said Mohammad Tahir, the brother of the two men and father of the 18-year-old woman who was killed, referring to McRaven. “We told him, ‘Thank you very much. We will not keep anything in our heart against you.'”
(READ the inspiring story, with photo, in ABC News)