A US soldier has killed more than a dozen civilians in a shooting spree in southern Afghanistan before being detained, officials say.
A member of the Kandahar provincial council who visited the site of the shooting in Panjwai district told Al Jazeera that at least 16 civilians were killed when the soldier left his base early on Sunday morning and opened fire.
The Kandahar governor’s office put the number of killed civilians at 15.
“Eleven members of my family are dead. They are all dead,” Haji Samad, an elder from Panjwai district, told the AFP news agency.
Captain Justin Brockhoff, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), could not confirm any fatalities in the incident.
“This is a horrific incident, and our thoughts are with the families of the affected. Our initial reports indicate multiple civilians – between four and six- are wounded. Those civilians are receiving care at coalition medical facilities,” he told Al Jazeera.
“At this point we do not have an indication – we can not speculate about the individual’s motives.”
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Herat, said the soldier entered three houses near the base and opened fire on civilians.
“We are now being told by the police sources that the US soldier left his base at three o clock this morning. It would have been pitch-black wherever he walked,” he said.
Civilian casualties have been a major source of friction between President Hamid Karzai’s government and the NATO forces in Afghanistan.”The soldier went through three separate houses, shooting at people as they slept in their beds. After the soldier shot these people, he turned himself in.”
Anti-American sentiment had already been running high before news of the latest civilian casualties.
“It is frankly disastrous. It is not just a disaster for the people who were murdered and killed in their houses, it is disaster for the country I suspect,” our correspondent said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the shooting rampage and labeled the incident as “intentional murders” and demanded an explanation from the United States.
The victims of the shooting spree, which left up to 16 civilians dead, included nine children and three women, Karzai’s office said in a statement.
Anger gripped the nation after US soldiers burned a large number of copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, at a NATO base last month, which the alliance said was “inadvertent”.
At least 41 people were killed in protests that followed the burning.
Najeeb Azizi, a Kabul-based Afghan analyst, said the shooting will have deep repercussions on the already tenuous relations with the US.
“It is a very tragic incident in particular because the Afghan and US governments are trying to sign a strategic agreement for a long term,” he said.
“A very bad message the Afghan people are getting – that if US military remains in Afghanistan beyond 2014 and their attitude and behaviour remains the same – of killing innocent civilians- what will be the consequences, and how will the Afghan people respond to it.”
asalaam alaikum everyone
PLEASE I NEED YOU'R HELP YOU ALL HEARD OF THE U.S SOLDIER WHO KILLED 16 AFGHAN INCLUDING 9 CHILDER AND 4 WOMEN HE IS ACCUSING THAT HE IS
MENTALLY ILL SO THAT MEANS HE'S GOING TO BE SET FREE FOR KILLING 16 PEOPLE BUT IF A MUSLIM DID THAT THEY ARE CALLED A TERRORIST
SO WE AS MUSLIM'S NEED TO WAKE UP WE NEED TO HELP THESE WHO CAN'T HELP THEMSELVES WE ARE THERE VOICE, WE ARE THE UMMAH OF
THE GREATEST MAN THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD SALLALLHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM.
SO IF ALWAYS WANTED TO HELP ISLAM THIS IS YOU'R TIME TO HELP WE SHOULD NOT BE SLIENCE ANYMORE
THIS MAN SHOULD PAY FOR WHAT HE DID HE SHOULD GET THE DEATH SENTENCE.
THE MUSLIM'S ARE BEING KILLED LIKE ANIMALES BUT ENOUGH IS A ENOUGH WE SHOULD STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.
TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THIS SPREAD IT OUT PLEASE
Nw US President is just going to say SORRY and thats's it for them. Sometimes i think whatever talibanis are doing they r right, Osama was right. When they are killing innocent ppl it war against terrorism and when we kill them, they call us terrorist.
Christians killing Muslims, Jews killing Christians, Muslims killing Jews,Christians killing Christians, Muslim killing Muslim! Some people are used and abused by their own faith, to finance their leaders greed,ego! even better to kill another faith and demonise them, it will take away the focus
from their own wrongdoings!! Anybody getting killed in the name of any faith is a tragedy! Really people are killing in the name of money, its got nothing to with faith!! Its a con!!! Peace and Love to the Universe!!
Stories like this bring trears to my eyes, but as muslims we are to blame as we are not united, if we were united as one Ummah I don't think no one will go into a muslim country, and things like this will never happen but you see Muslims are against each other, what needs to happen is unite together and then see the results.
He poured chemicals over the bodies and set fire to them also. Witnesses say he wasn't alone and there were other soldiers partaking.
What also makes me wonder is how was he able to wander out of his heavily fortified army base? At 3am? No one apprehended him? Asked what he was doing? Pretty unbelievable
Even animals have some decorum Iman. Let's not insult them.
Here in the UK the reporting style of this incident is laughable somewhat. They claim the soldier had a 'breakdown' in the morning and went on a killing spree.
Apparently this mindset justifies a massacre in the eyes of the Daily Mail newspaper and likes thereof. Pitiful.
I wonder how far this pathetic line would get a Taliban soldier in the same situation? Let's ponder over that one...
Allah swt is the best of planners and justice shall be precise and exacting.
I read this billboard someone posted on Facebook it said: it Gods right to judge the terrorists and our responsibility is to ensure their meeting. Signed US marine
There is so much hatred for Islam but all we can do is have Sabr and leave the rest to Allah
Shame on him! Isn't his job to serve and protect?! What has he done but kill and ruin peoples lives?! I bet they'll claim him insane and slap him with two months community service BACK in Afghanistan so he can kill some more!