Karzai condemns, US saddened over Afghan killings (Second Lead)

March 12th, 2012 - 12:52 am ICT by IANS  

Kabul/Washington, March 11 (IANS) Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai Sunday strongly condemned the killing of 16 civilians, including nine children and three women by a US soldier in Kandahar province.

Five others were injured in the incident, which occurred early Sunday in Kandahar’s Zangabad village, some 450 km south of capital city Kabul.

In a statement, Karzai described the killings as “intentional killing of humans”, Xinhua reported.

“The Afghan government had in the past strongly condemned civilian casualties that caused during the military operations by international forces that was called war on terrorism. But when a US soldier intentionally kills innocent people, it could be described as an act of terror, which cannot be forgiven,” the Afghanistan president said.

In Washington, the US government offered condolences to families of the Afghan civilians who were killed by a US soldier, saying that Washington was saddened by the “violent act”.

“The United States extends deepest condolences to the families of today’s tragic shooting and we’re saddened by this violent act against our Afghan friends,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families,” the statement added.

Earlier, the US vowed to punish the culprit behind the killings.

Anyone found responsible for the killing of over a dozen civilians in Afghanistan would be punished, said General John Allen, commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

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