A U.S. soldier was detained at a NATO base in Afghanistan for shooting and killing Afghan civilians Sunday, said the provincial governor Tooryalai Wesa.
From his base in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, the unnamed service member went to the nearby village of Alkozai in the morning and opened fire at three houses randomly, said Wesa.
Wesa, who did not elaborate on the details of the incident, said that a delegation of officers had reached the place and were investigating the incident.
According to a Reuter report, at least 16 persons were killed and several were critically injured. and the death toll could rise further. The dead include women and children also.
The soldier is reported to have suffered from a nervous breakdown. Later, he surrendered himself to the authorities.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition confirmed the detention of the U.S. soldier and said that incident had left multiple civilians dead and injured.
It was a shooting incident involving multiple civilians, said the spokesman, Captain Justin Brockhoff, according to the Reuters report.
In a statement, the ISAF said that the incident would be investigated jointly by the NATO and Afghan authorities. This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved, statement said.
The incident is the latest in a series of happenings that has caused friction between the U.S. and the Afghan government in recent months.
The incident has raised serious concerns among the ISAF and U.S. officials as it might escalate the existing resentment in Afghanistan against U.S forces. Earlier, incidents of burning Koran by the U.S soldiers in the NATO base and reports of civilian casualties had erupted violent protests against the U.S. soldiers that killed several civilians and six U.S. troops.