US Soldier Kills 16 Afghan Civilians
An American soldier killed at least 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, when he opened fire on villagers near a military base in rural southern Afghanistan yesterday.
It was the worst single attack by foreign forces on Afghan civilians, apart from air strikes, in more than a decade of war. One villager lost 11 members of his family, and another lost four.
Tensions are already high after US troops burnt copies of the Quran last month, triggering a backlash that has killed dozens, including at least six American soldiers. Most of the US casualties were shot dead by Afghan forces
Yesterday’s attack by an army staff sergeant took place before dawn in the villages of Balandi and Alkozai in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province, about 500 metres away from a US base and in the heart of Taliban territory.
US President Barack Obama expressed deep sadness yesterday at a “tragic and shocking” shooting.
“I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering…
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,” Mr Obama said in a written statement.
The Afghan president Hamid Karzai called the shooting “a deliberate human killing” and demanded an explanation from Washington. “This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven,” Mr Karzai said. The president said he had repeatedly demanded that the US stop killing Afghan civilians.
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Heart strings (tendons) inside the human heart. (source)