The motives of the shooter and most details about him, including his name, are still not known.
The suspect is a staff sergeant who has been in the military for 11 years. He is married with two children. He served three tours in Iraq and began his first deployment to Afghanistan in December, according to a senior U.S. official.
The main responsibility of the soldier, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, was to help protect the forces stationed at the small combat outpost, said Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, another spokesman for the coalition. It is not known what type of job he did at the base. The soldier was not assigned to a special operations unit and has no special operations training, Col. Cummings said.
Two small villages very close to the base in southern Kandahar province were attacked. An enraged Mr. Karzai called it “an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians” that cannot be forgiven. He demanded an explanation from Washington.
Tensions between Afghanistan and the United States rocketed last month after word of the Koran burnings got out. President Obama said the burnings were a mistake and apologized.
As recently as Friday, the strains appeared to be easing, as the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding about the transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan control — a key step toward an eventual strategic partnership to govern U.S. forces in the country.
In Afghanistan's parliament on Monday, however, lawmakers called for a halt to negotiations on the strategic partnership document until it is clear that the soldier said to be behind the shooting rampage faces justice in Afghan courts.
“We said to Karzai: If you sign that document, you are betraying your country,” said Shikiba Ashimi, a parliamentarian from Kandahar. “The U.S. should be very careful. It is sabotaging the atmosphere of this strategic partnership.”
Under the Military Technical Agreement between Afghanistan and the U.S., if legal proceedings have to be carried out regarding any wrongdoing by a service member, it will be handled under U.S. military law.
In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that despite the killings, Britain, the United States and their allies must stay the course they have set to return Afghanistan to local control in the next few years.
“One’s heart just goes out to those families in Kandahar who have suffered these appalling losses,” Mr. Cameron said.
The public response to the shootings so far has been calmer than the six days of violent protests and clashes that erupted after the Korans were burned at Bagram Air Field. There were no signs of protests Monday.
Afghan forces also turned their guns on their supposed allies in the aftermath of the Koran burnings, killing six U.S. troops.
The Taliban vowed revenge for Sunday’s shootings. It also claimed responsibility for several attacks last month that the group said were retaliation for the Americans burning Korans.
The al-Qaeda-linked militant group said in a statement on its website that “sick-minded American savages” committed the “blood-soaked and inhumane crime” in a rural region that is the cradle of the Taliban and where coalition forces have fought for control for years.View Entire Story
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