News

'Rogue' US solider kills 16 civilians

DISTRAUGHT and furious Afghans vowed vengeance yesterday after a US soldier apparently walked from a Nato base into the homes of civilians, turning his weapon on the families inside and killing 16 people, nine of them children.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior has urged people to show restraint until investigators have completed their inquiry, but concerns are mounting that the incident will re-ignite violent protests that swept Afghanistan last month after US servicemen burnt copies of the Koran at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul.

Nazim Shah returned to his home in Panjwai district from a trip to Kandahar to find his entire family killed.

Sobbing into the phone, he told The Independent: "All my family is dead. We will get revenge on those who killed my family. We wonit let this rest easily."

The attack comes at a crucial time, as President Hamid Karzai and US officials, under strained relations, negotiate a future role for foreign forces after Nato troops hand over security to Afghan forces in 2014.

Witnesses and officials gave differing accounts of yesterdayis events, but it appears that the soldier, as yet unnamed, left the joint US-Afghan Zangebad base at about 3am.

He walked to the villages of Balandi and Alkozai, about a kilometre away, and began the killings which left nine children, three women and four men dead.

Five more were wounded.

"The US soldier attacked three different houses, killing 11 people in the first house, four in the second house and one in the third house," said Mahammad, a tribal elder in Panjwai.

"The 11 people who were first shot dead were brought together in one home and the soldier put pillows, sticks and blankets on them and burnt them."

Photographs of the victims showed burn injuries.

General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), confirmed that the soldier went back to the base and gave himself up, and was in detention.

Reports suggest he is an army staff sergeant, although most of the soldiers at Zangebad are Special Forces troops, according to an Afghan official familiar with the facility.

American officials were swift to try to limit the damage, with the US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, issuing a statement pledging a "rapid and thorough investigation" with anyone found to have committed wrongdoing to be held "fully accountable".

President Barack Obama called the attack "tragic and shocking".

Mr Karzai - who said the death toll was 16, which Nato has yet to confirm - sent a high-level delegation from the ministries of defence and interior, the National Directorate of Security and the National Security Council to investigate.

In a statement, he strongly condemned the incident, which he called "an intentional act" against civilians.

Nato officials will now have to wait to see whether the promise of investigations will be enough, or whether the incident will spark another round of retribution and bloodshed.

Haji Aghalalai Dastgiri, an elder from Panjwai and a member of Kandahar's provincial council, told The Independent that the local mood was very black.

"People have been gathering to discuss this," he said.

"They will probably approach the Kandahar governor's office to discuss this with him.

"If he does not provide a satisfactory response, people may protest in the streets."

Samad Khan, a farmer who said he lost all 11 members of his family, told the Associated Press that villagers would demand the Americans hand over the shooter - a demand that will not be met - before deciding what action to take.

"This is an anti-human and anti-Islamic act," said Mr Khan.

"Nobody is allowed, in any religion in the world, to kill children and women."

Haji Dastgiri said that witnesses had described the US soldier as "in a bad mood" and said that he "appeared drunk".

Most described the shooting as the work of a single man, although some reports said more than one soldier was involved.

The Taliban, keen to exploit the propaganda coup the killings offered, claimed that "50 civilians [were] martyred by American terrorists".

It called the incident an "act of genocide".

The US embassy in Kabul tweeted a warning to people in Kandahar.

Last month, after US servicemen accidentally burned Korans, 30 Afghans were killed in demonstrations, six Isaf soldiers were killed by members of the Afghan security forces who turned on them in apparent revenge and two US military advisers were shot dead.

In 2010, in Kandahar province, a group of US soldiers murdered at least three Afghans and collected their body parts as trophies. Eleven soldiers were convicted on various charges.

Topics:  afghanistan nato shooting soldier united states



Anzac Day 2017: Tiger spirit still roars for veteran

World War Two veteran Hilary Schmidt proudly sits below the Australian flag while displaying her medals at RSL Care Darlington, Banora Point.

"I did six weeks, then I was sent to anti-aircraft at Eagle Farm”

Back to school plans change after floods

Crabbes Creek Primary students and their teacher Jack Russell will be starting term two at Burringbar Public School after recent flood damage.

Condong and Crabbes Creek public schools are changing campuses.

Anzac Day: Hundreds turn out for Tweed Dawn Service

A soldier stands guard over the Cenotaph as daylight begins to break over Jack Evans Boat Harbour at Tweed Heads' Anzac Day dawn service.

"Lest we forget the memory of those who we all remember today”

Local Partners

Billionaire Elon Musk and Amber Heard hit Shingle Inn

Actor Amber Heard and billionaire boyfriend Elon Musk have begun enjoying Queensland.

New Netflix doco on JonBenet Ramsay's death makes huge claim

A new documentary will air claims that child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsay was murdered by a paedo sex ring.

New claims that JonBenet Ramsay was killed by a paedophile sex ring

Movie review: Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol. 2 delivers on all fronts

Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Drax (Dave Bautista) in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.

Does Guardians Vol. 2 live up to high expectations set by original?

Sir Elton John hospitalised with rare infection

CROCODILE ROCKER: Sir Elton John will head to Mackay in September for the first stop of his Australian tour.

Elton John cancels shows after becoming violently ill.

Sunshine Coast singers out to turn chairs on The Voice

NEXT BIG THING? Tune in to see Glasshouse Mountains folk artist Benjamin James Caldwell on The Voice.

Do our Coast folk singers have what it takes to turn judges' chairs?

Former Glee star Lea Michele posts nude selfie to Instagram

Former Glee star Lea Michele has posted a very revealing snapshot

Gold Logie winner defends Molly Meldrum's Logies hijack

Samuel Johnson has defended Molly Meldrum after Logies speech

Lisa Curry and fiance sell up Sunshine Coast property

I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! contestant Lisa Curry with partner Mark Tabone after being evicted from the South African jungle. Picture: Dylan Robinson ***EMBARGOED 7:30pm March 9th***

Plans for dream home on hold at Mount Mellum place on market

SOLD: Iconic M'boro pub set to be transformed

Shane Muller from Maryborough Motorcycles will be opening up a showroom and café at the Shamrock Hotel.

The Shamrock Hotel is set to be transformed in the next two months.

Council urged to consult more on Kingscliff plan

Cr Ron Cooper is determined to have a three-storey height limit in Kingscliff.

Council nails down the draft Kingscliff plan.

Coast developer looks to prime real estate's future

MANY OPTIONS: Sunshine Coast developer Graeme Juniper is considering what to do with a prime piece of real estate he owns on Radical Bay on Magnetic Island, near Townsville.

Radical Bay is World Environment Heritage-listed.

This small box of a unit just sold for $1 million

Elizabeth Bay unit has charming views to Sydney Heads.

If this doesn't scream 'housing bubble', nothing does.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!