There is growing anger among villagers near a US military base in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province after an American soldier went on a shooting spree killing at least 16 civilians including nine children.
The gunman reportedly entered three houses killing 11 people in one, setting fire to their bodies before leaving.
US officials said the soldier is now in custody.
The incident is bound to inflame Afghan anger -already seething after the recent Koran burning episode at a NATO base. President Barack Obama
immediately called his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai promising a swift inquiry.
NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
expressed concern that the shooting would weaken the Afghan people’s trust in NATO forces:
“The Afghans understand that they need our efforts in order to create a better future. But it is clear that the burning of Korans and this type of attack on civilians undermine the faith they have in us and it’s important that we restore it as quickly as possible.”
There are conflicting reports over the number of gunmen involved – the US claims it was one individual who went on a rampage while witnesses say several US soldiers were present.