A US soldier has shot Afghan civilians, it has been confirmed
US soldier walked out of a base in southern Afghanistan before dawn and
started shooting Afghan civilians, according to villagers and Afghan
and Nato officials.
Villagers showed an Associated Press
photographer 15 bodies, including women and children, and alleged they
were killed by the American.
The shooting looks certain to deepen
strains between US forces and their Afghan hosts after weeks of violence
triggered by Americans burning Muslim holy books at a US base.
Nato officials apologised for the shootings.
wish to convey my profound regrets and dismay at the actions apparently
taken by one coalition member in Kandahar province," said a statement
from Lieutenant General Adrian Bradshaw, the deputy commander of Nato
forces in Afghanistan. "One of our soldiers is reported to have killed
and injured a number of civilians in villages adjacent to his base. I
cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in
no way part of authorised ISAF military activity."
took place in two villages in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar
province - Balandi and Alkozai. The villages are about 500 yards away
from a US base.
The shooting started around 3am, said Asadullah
Khalid, the government representative for southern Afghanistan and a
member of the delegation that went to investigate the incident. He said
that he had counted 16 dead. There was no way to immediately reconcile
the different death tolls.
Alkozai resident Abdul Baqi said he
heard the gunshots during the night but only found out about the deaths
afterward when he talked neighbours who said the man had come into their
"When it was happening in the middle of the
night, we were inside our houses. I heard gunshots and then silence and
then gunshots again," Mr Baqi said.
An AP photographer saw 15
bodies between the two villages. Some of the bodies had been burned,
while others were covered with blankets.
Nato spokesman Justin
Brockhoff said a US service member had been detained as the alleged
shooter. The victims were evacuated to Nato medical facilities, he said.