US soldier kill 16 Afghan civilians in shooting spree

US soldier kill 16 Afghan civilians in shooting spree

US soldier kill 16 Afghan civilians in shooting spree

US soldiers in Afghanistan man a checkpoint in this photo. A rogue US soldier left his base and began shooting civilians early yesterday and killed 16 people. AFP photo

A U.S. soldier went on a shooting rampage in southern Afghanistan yesterday, bursting into the homes of civilians in villages near his base in the middle of the night and killing up to 16 people, an Afghan minister told Reuters.

Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs Asadullah Khalid, who is investigating the incident, said the soldier entered three homes, killing 11 people in the first one. “In one house, I saw 10 people, including women and children killed and burned in one room. Another woman was lying dead at the entrance of the house,” the Agence France-Presse reporter said from the scene in southern Kandahar province.

The incident came just weeks after U.S. soldiers burned copies of large numbers of Qurans at a NATO base, triggering widespread anti-Western protests, and plunging already strained ties between Kabul and Washington to a new low. The soldier has been detained and an investigation is underway, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition said.

“I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in no way part of authorized ISAF military activity,” ISAF deputy commander Lt. Gen. Adrian Bradshaw said in a statement. The U.S. embassy in Kabul also issued a statement extending “its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of today’s tragic shooting incident in Kandahar province. “We are saddened by this violent act against our Afghan friends. We deplore any attack by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces against innocent civilians.”

Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.

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