Russia - Afghan shooting a 'grave crime'

2012-03-12 19:32

Moscow - Russia on Tuesday called the shooting of 16 Afghan villagers by a US soldier one of the worst crimes ever committed during a conflict and said it expected the guilty to be punished severely.

"This inhumane act stands side by side with the gravest crimes committed in the course of armed conflicts," the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that Russia was "deeply shocked".

"We expect the guilty to suffer severe punishment and the international forces' command to take effective measures aimed at preventing such incidents in the future."

Russia, which has its own painful Soviet-era history in Afghanistan, fears a more permanent US presence in the energy-rich Central Asian region and has only allowed non-combat equipment to cross its territory for Nato forces there.

The US soldier walked off his base and broke into the homes of villagers in Kandahar province's Panjwayi district before dawn on Sunday, killing 16 people including women and children.

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