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Merkel visits Afghanistan amid rage against NATO

Merkel visits Afghanistan amid rage against NATO
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Angela Merkel has visited German troops in Afghanistan amid a new wave of hostility to foreign forces over a massacre of innocent civilians.

The German Chancellor visited a base near
Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. It came a day after a US soldier killed 16 people in a rampage in the south of the country.

A spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said: “ISAF offers its profound regret and deepest condolences to the victims and their families. We pledge to all the noble people of Afghanistan our commitment to a rapid and thorough investigation.”

The latest killings have fuelled anger over the earlier burning of copies of the Koran at a NATO base.

One local man in Kandahar said: “This is a tragic incident. This should be investigated whether this is true or if he was drunk. If he did this deliberately he should be punished with death. Otherwise it will raise many questions and it will help the Taliban to benefit from this.”

Another said:“The people of Kandahar are very concerned and shocked about this incident. I personally feel very sad. Even I am ready to go to the side of the Taliban to fight against these foreigners.”

Just days before the killings, Kabul and Washington had made progress in negotiations on a an agreement that would allow American advisers to stay in Afghanistan after foreign troops leave at the end of 2014.

Analysts say that agreement has now been significantly undermined.