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US soldier kills 15 civilians in Afghanistan: reports

The soldier turned himself in to US military officials Sunday.

Afghan demonstrationsEnlarge
Afghan demonstrators shout anti US-slogans during a protest against Koran desecration in Kunduz on February 25, 2012. Rock-throwing protesters attacked a UN compound and clashed with police in northern Afghanistan February 25, as a fifth day of protests over the burning of Korans left at least three dead. Thousands attacked the complex in Kunduz but did not get in as violence flared across the city, in unrest that raised to 27 the death toll from protests at Koran burning by troops from the US-led NATO force, according to an AFP tally. (Gulrahim/AFP/Getty Images)

An American soldier walked into a village near his base in southern Afghanistan, and shot and killed at least 15 civilians early Sunday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Another five Afghan civilians were injured, the paper said. Nine children and three women were reportedly among the victims.

The unnamed soldier turned himself in to US military officials later Sunday and may have suffered some type of mental breakdown, the BBC said.

According to the Associated Press, President Hamid Karzai called the incident an "assassination," and demanded an explanation from Washington.

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The US military in a statement to the BBC said it had detained one of its own service members after what it called “a deeply regrettable incident." The US said it was investigating the shooting, but gave no other details.

A NATO spokesman told the Associated Press it was unclear whether the shooter knew the victims.

The shooting occurred in a house near the base where the soldier was stationed in Kandahar, in the country's south. An area resident told The New York Times the shooting happened Saturday at the home of an area tribal elder. 

The shooting comes after a series of violent incidents between Afghan soldiers and American troops at a particularly tense time following an incident where several US soldiers were found to be burning copies of the Quran at Bagram Air Base. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/120311/us-soldier-kills-civilians-afghanistan