American Soldier Murders 16 Civilians in Afghanistan (UPDATED)


An American soldier opened fire on civilians in Kandahar Sunday, killing 16 Afghans including 9 children and 3 women. While most reports say a single soldier is accountable for the massacre, some eyewitness accounts maintain it was a group of American soldiers "who were laughing and appeared drunk."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded an explanation for these "intentional murders." The White House released a statement earlier today, in which they said they are "deeply concerned" and "monitoring the situation closely."

Meanwhile, General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, promises a "rapid and thorough investigation" into the massacre.

This deeply appalling incident in no way represents the values of [International Security Assistance Force] and coalition troops or the abiding respect we feel for the Afghan people. Nor does it impugn or diminish the spirit of cooperation and partnership we have worked so hard to foster with the Afghan National Security Forces.

The soldier's motivation for the shooting spree is still unclear. He is currently being held in custody.

UPDATE:
President Obama has issued a statement in light of the 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.

[Image via AP]