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US soldier goes on killing spree: How events may unfold in Afghanistan

A US soldier, apparently acting alone after walking off a base, killed up to 17 Afghans including women and children on a rampage through at least three local homes in Kandahar Province.

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Up to 17 Afghans are dead and 5 injured after a US soldier left his base in the south of Afghanistan and attacked at least three local homes on Sunday. International military officials have detained the US soldier and are working with Afghan authorities to investigate the incident.

“Initial reports indicate that the shooter acted alone and that this did not occur in conjunction with or during an ISAF operation,” says US Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, an ISAF spokesman. “It is not clear at this time what the individual’s motives were and we do not know if the individual had any ties or issues with those who were wounded.”

Tensions are already high between NATO forces and Afghans after the burning of several Qurans on a US base led to a week of violent protests last month. The shooting may increase Afghan anger toward Western troops here, however, Afghans have traditionally not responded with violence or widespread protest to such incidents, largely viewing this sort of behavior as an all too familiar byproduct of war. Past incidents included the deliberate killing of Afghan civilians by a rogue Stryker platoon and some Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. 

“It gives us the message that the American soldiers are not under the control of their generals and these American generals have failed to manage them,” says Abdul Rahim Ayobi, a member of Parliament from Kandahar. “It will definitely raise the hatred of Americans among Afghans.”

Sunday’s shooting occurred in Afghanistan’s restive Panjwayi district in Kandahar Province. Initial reports indicate that soldier walked off base around 3:00 am and attacked several families while they slept. Among Afghans in the area, the scope of the attack has led to speculation that the shooter may have had an accomplice, but these reports remain unconfirmed.

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