US soldier shoots civilians

2012-03-11 14:37

Kabul - An American soldier walked off his base in southern Afghanistan and opened fire on civilians on Sunday, reportedly killing three, Western and Afghan officials said.

The soldier was held afterwards, Nato's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

"A United States service member was detained today in connection to an incident that resulted in Afghan casualties in Kandahar province," it said, without specifying the number of victims.

A Western official told AFP: "A soldier walks off the base (in the early hours of Sunday morning) and starts shooting. He got back to the office and was detained."

The governor of Kandahar province said three people were reportedly killed.

"Our initial information indicates that three people are dead but we don't know who they are," said governor Toryalai Wesa, adding that an investigation was under way.

Motive unknown

The shooting comes after a series of incidents in which Afghan soldiers turned their weapons on American troops, killing six, after Qur'ans were burned at a military base.

But there was no word on what might have motivated the soldier's actions.

"This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved," ISAF said.

"US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), in co-operation with Afghan authorities, will investigate this incident and release additional information as appropriate."

The Qur'an burning ignited days of violent anti-US protests in which about 40 people died, plunging relations between foreign forces and their Afghan allies to an all-time low and forcing US President Barack Obama to apologise.

Nato withdrew all its advisors from Afghan government ministries after two American officers were shot and killed inside the interior ministry, apparently by an Afghan colleague, following the burning.

Of the 60 Nato troops killed so far this year, 18% - almost one in five - have died at the hands of Afghan colleagues, including four French and an Albanian, as well as the six Americans.

The US has a strong presence in Kandahar, the birthplace of the hardline Islamist Taliban which is waging an insurgency against the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The US leads about 130 000 Nato troops in Afghanistan in defence of the Karzai government.

  • mohdnor.salleh - 2012-03-11 14:55

    What can I say ... Americans ! After urinating on dead bodies and now this,shame on you.

      Jack - 2012-03-11 15:39

      Your stereotyping Americans, is just as bad as me saying all Muslims are terrorist.

      Fred - 2012-03-11 15:55

      An immature and racist belief. Disappointing.

  • brett.macdonald1 - 2012-03-11 15:14

    Funniest thing is that this guy will more than likely get out before Bradley Manning...

  • John - 2012-03-11 15:37

    Well hell, if somebody killed a friend of mine because a book was burned! I'd probably also be pissed. Surely they can print another book. If it was the last Qur'an I'd understand, but those were not and were used to undermine NATO: "The materials had been taken from a library at Parwan Detention Facility, which adjoins the base, because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions." Those who wrote in the Qur'an already desecrated the book as it is forbidden to write in the Qur'an. Infact, the Afghans should thank the Americans for burning those desecrated Qur'ans to maintain the venerated position of the book. The killing of people over burning books are by far a worse crime, and should deserve all the contempt it can get from anybody who has a shred of decency. The soldier who killed civilians should be sentenced for his crime, for although more justifiable, by no means lawful.

      lasherza - 2012-03-12 08:49

      Lol @John about the books... I mean dont they have a PDF version or on Kindle..Sheesh

      Joe - 2012-03-14 05:03

      well how would you feel if someone burned your religions holiest book

  • Michael - 2012-03-11 18:42

    I firmly believe this was a totally maverick event , most unfortunately by a soldier who had simply lost it. Pressures of life as a soldier maybe, who knows. But as we have seen , a number of such incidents have taken place around the world, just to many nutters around. It comes at the very worst moment for ISAF and might be the tipping point for an early withdrawal. If you are in Kabul I would say "Head for the airport".

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