A U.S. service member began shooting civilians this morning at a base in southern Afghanistan, USA Today is reporting. Afgahn President Hamid Karzai is claiming that 16 people, including three women and nine children, were killed in the shooting. He added that the attack was an assassination, and demanded the U.S. apologize.
The shooting comes after violence has plagued the country the past several weeks, due to the burning of copies of the Quran. The burnings sparked protests and attacks, which left approximately 30 people dead, including six U.S. service members.
The shooting occurred in two villages in the Panjwai district of the southern Kandahar province. Balandi and Alkozai, the two villages, are located approximately 500 yards from a U.S. base. The shooting began around 3 a.m, the government representative for southern Afghanistan, Asadullah Khalid, said.
After news of the shooting was made public, Lt. Gen. Adrian Bradshaw, the deputy commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, released a statement. He said he wishes “to convey my profound regrets and dismay at the actions apparently taken by one coalition member in Kandahar province…I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in no way part of authorized ISAF (NATO’S International Security assistance Force) military activity.” Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman, added that the suspected shooter had been detained at a NATO base.
Written by: Karen Benardello