NATO soldier kills 16 civilians in Kandahar
Mon Mar 12, 4:06 pm
An American soldier has killed 16 civilians in an unprovoked attack in three different homes in the southern province of Kandahar. The 16 slain individuals included a number of women and children. Five were wounded by the soldier who appeared to have acted alone.
The incident took place on early Sunday morning when a NATO-led US soldier opened fire at three houses in Panjwae district of Kandahar province, killing 16 people and injuring 5 others. The details as to why this soldier killed so many civilians in their homes have not yet been established.
President Karzai in a statement has strongly condemned the incident and also has expressed his sympathies with the victims’ families.
President Barack Obama said, “This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said a full investigation was already under way.
Earlier, Gen John R Allen, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, said US officials there would work with their Afghan counterparts to investigate what had happened. He said that the soldier had been arrested.
“I pledge to all the noble people of Afghanistan my commitment to a rapid and thorough investigation,” he said in a statement.
The Governor of Kandahar, Toryalai Weesa, confirmed the incident and said a NATO soldier has been arrested and is under investigation.
It is noteworthy that the incident takes place in such a time that the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between Afghanistan and US is under discussions between the both sides. One of the Afghan conditions for this treaty, which has delayed the signing of the alliance for the months, is that foreign troops must stop carrying out night-raids in Afghanistan.
This was the first time ever that a NATO soldier directly shot dead civilians in Afghanistan.