Obama expresses condolences for Afghan shootings

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But Sunday’s shooting could push that agreement further away.

“This is a fatal hammer blow on the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. Whatever sliver of trust and credibility we might have had following the burnings of the Koran is now gone,” said David Cortright, director of policy studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and an advocate for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“This may have been the act of a lone, deranged soldier, but the people of Afghanistan will see it for what it was — a wanton massacre of innocent civilians,” Mr. Cortright said.

One of the survivors, a 15-year-old boy named Rafiullah who was shot in the leg, spoke to Mr. Karzai by phone and described how the American soldier entered his house in the middle of the night, woke up his family and began shooting them, according to the Afghan president’s statement.

An Associated Press photographer saw 15 bodies between the two villages caught up in the shooting. Some of the bodies had been burned, while others were covered with blankets. A boy partially wrapped in a blanket was in the back of a minibus, dried blood crusted on his face and pooled in his ear. His loose-fitting brown pants were partly burned, revealing a leg charred by fire.

Villagers packed inside the minibus looked on with concern as a woman spoke to reporters. She pulled back a blanket to reveal the body of a smaller child wearing what appeared to be red pajamas. A third dead child lay amid a pile of green blankets in the bed of a truck.

This article is based on wire service reports.

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