Karzai under fire for killings by US soldier in Afghanistan

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Karzai under fire for killings by US soldier in Afghanistan

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Anger at the killing of 16 civilians by an American soldier was also directed at Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday, after his two brothers were attacked as they visited the site of the massacre.

The pair were shot at as they met with local people at a mosque nearby. Security officials were onhand and no one was injured.

The area of Panjwai is a Taliban stronghold and part of a supply route.

The attempted attack on the president’s brothers underscores how hard it is for Karzai’s administration to control the situation, especially with anti-US sentiment already high after recent riots over a koran-burning incident at Bagram airbase.

The American soldier responsible for the killings could face the death penalty under the military justice system, though there is still no word on whether he will be tried in the US or Afghanistan.

Speaking from the White House, US President Barack Obama said: “We are heartbroken over the loss of innocent lives. The killing of innocent civilians is outrageous and it’s unaceptable. It’s not who we are as a country and it does not represent our military and for those reasons I have directed the Pentagon to make sure we spare no effort in conducting a full investigation.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron is due to meet President Obama on Wednesday to agree that both countries end their ‘lead combat’ role in Afghanistan by the middle of next year.