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NATO pledges to investigate U.S. soldier killing of 16 Afghan civilians

(Xinhua)

14:07, March 13, 2012

Spokesman for NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson (R) speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, on March 12, 2012. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has pledged to launch a rapid and thorough investigation into a shooting incident by a U.S. service member that left 16 civilians dead in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan on Sunday, an ISAF spokesman said here on Monday. (Xinhua/Jawid Omid)

KABUL, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has pledged to launch a rapid and thorough investigation into a shooting incident by a U.S. service member that left 16 civilians dead in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan on Sunday, an ISAF spokesman said here on Monday.

"ISAF offers its profound regret and deepest condolences to the victims and their families. We pleaded to all the noble people of Afghanistan our commitment to a rapid and thorough investigation," Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told reporters in a press briefing.

The bloody incident happened early Sunday morning in Zangabad village of Panjwai district when a rogue U.S. soldier walked out from a military camp and broke into three houses with indiscriminate shooting which left 16 people including women and children dead and injuring nine others.

"We are shocked and saddened to hear of the shooting incident yesterday in Kandahar province," the spokesman said.

ISAF spokesman also added that he did not see the attack as a revenge for recent incident in which a total of six ISAF service members including two U.S. advisors were killed by Afghan army and police after burning Quran by U.S. forces in the main U.S. military base in Bagram 50 km north of Kabul in mid February.

Asked whether the serial killer in Panjwai district would be tried in accordance with the Afghan laws, ISAF spokesman said," the legal status of the soldiers of the ISAF is clearly regulated in the military technical agreements between Afghanistan and the international community." However, he didn't give details.

Meantime, NATO's civilian spokesman Dominic Medley said at the same press briefing that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen fully supports NATO-led ISAF forces commander General Allen's commitment to establish the facts and hold anyone responsible to account with regard to killing civilians in Afghanistan.

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