Gunman in Afghan killing acted alone: Pentagon

March 13th, 2012 - 4:17 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 13 (IANS) A lone American soldier was involved in the shooting deaths of 16 civilians in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province over the weekend, the Pentagon said.

The soldier, who left his base and killed people in nearby villages Sunday, acted alone, and he turned himself in to authorities upon returning to the base, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Monday.

“We believe at this time only one service member was involved,” Little said, adding the investigation into the incident continues.

He wouldn’t speculate the motive of the incident, but said the actions of one individual will not force the US to change its fundamental strategy in Afghanistan.

Little characterized the killing as “an isolated incident”, vowing to “pursue accountability for the alleged actions of this service member”, Xinhua reported.

As to Afghan calls that the soldier be tried publicly in Afghanistan, Little said the prosecutions of US service members are governed by “agreements in place with the government of Afghanistan”.

He said an investigative team and a prosecutor have been assigned, but the US side is “going to work closely with the Afghans on this investigation”.

The soldier had served multiple tours in Iraq and is on his first Afghanistan deployment, the press secretary said.

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