An elderly Afghan man sits next to the covered bodies of people who were killed by coalition forces in Kandahar province, March 11, 2012. Coalition forces killed 15 civilians in a shooting spree in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province on Sunday, the defense ministry said, in an incident likely to deepen the growing divide between Washington and Kabul. (REUTERS/ Ahmad Nadeem)
A US soldier in Afghanistan has killed at least 16 civilians and wounded five after entering their homes in Kandahar province, senior local officials say.
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He left his military base in the early hours of the morning and opened fire in at least two homes; women and children were among the dead. Nato said it was investigating the “deeply regrettable incident”.
Anti-US sentiment is already high in Afghanistan after US soldiers burnt copies of the Koran last month. US officials have apologised repeatedly for the incident at a Nato base in Kabul, but they failed to quell a series of protests and attacks that killed at least 30 people and six US troops.
Local people have reportedly gathered near the base in Panjwai district to protest about Sunday’s killings, and the US embassy is advising against travel to the area.