US soldier detained over shooting Afghan civilians

Soldier is being held at a Nato base and US forces are investigating the shooting in cooperation with Afghan authorities

A US service member walked out of his base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday and started shooting Afghan civilians, the provincial governor said.

People were both killed and wounded in the early morning shooting in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, Governor Tooryalai Wesa said, though he did not provide numbers.

“The incident happened. There are some people killed, some wounded. But I don’t have the details,” Wesa said in a phone interview. He said a group of officials had gone to the base to determine exactly what happened.

Nato forces spokesman Justin Brockhoff said a US service member had been detained as the alleged shooter but did not provide details on the incident. He said the coalition had reports of “multiple wounded” but none killed. The wounded were receiving treatment at Nato medical facilities, he said.

The service member was being held at a Nato base and US forces are investigating the shooting in cooperation with Afghan authorities, Brockhoff said. He said it was not clear if the alleged shooter knew the victims.

The shooting comes after weeks of tense relations between US forces and their Afghan hosts following the burning of Qur’ans and other religious materials at an American base. Though US officials apologised and said the burning was an accident, the incident sparked violent protests and attacks that killed some 30 people.

Six US troops have been killed in attacks by their supposed Afghan colleagues since the Qur’an burnings came to light.

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