Four seconds changes the life of a platoon sergeant. From Kim Murphy of the LA Times:
Sgt. 1st Class Walter Taylor's life collapsed in four interminable seconds in a dusty field in central Afghanistan.
His convoy was reeling from a roadside bomb, his fellow soldiers were engaged in combat with insurgents — and a mysterious black car had just screeched to a stop in the middle of the firefight. Some nine minutes later, a black door opens.
Second 1: A figure dressed in dark, bulky clothing emerges.
Second 2: The figure begins walking toward the trunk.
Second 3: Taylor, with five wounded comrades behind him, sees a thin trigger wire seeming to snake directly toward the black car. Could there be a second bomb in the trunk?
Second 4: Taylor squeezes the trigger on his M-4 carbine. The figure crumples to the dirt.
Unfortunately, the figure was not an insurgent, Taliban or other combatant. It was a female doctor (obstetrician), mother of four, who went to the scene to help the victims.
The Army has charged SSG Taylor (recovering from a later IED hit that severely wounded him) with murder.
Taylor's platoon had been hit by IED's 16 times, and, of the 44 men in the platoon, 38 had been wounded and 2 had been killed (including one of the best squad leaders in the platoon). Their mission was route clearance (sappers) and it was incredibly dangerous.
So was the female figure a threat to the sappers? No.
Could she have been perceived as a threat? Sure looks that way from the information from the Times. She drove her car and passengers into a fire fight (or the aftermath of one) because she was in a hurry to get home before dark.
Was this a tragedy all the way round? Yes.
Is this a politically motivated charge? Very likely as Karzai called for the investigation and charges himself.