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An Afghan soldier guarding a checkpoint in Kandahar province. AP Photo/Allauddin Khan/PA Images

Hundreds protest Afghan shootings as Taliban mounts attack on government

Gunmen targeted a government delegation as it visited relatives of the shooting victims.

HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS have been protesting in Jalalabad, Afghanistan over a US soldier’s apparent shooting spree in which 16 Afghan civilians were killed in their homes in Kandahar over the weekend.

The crowd chanted “Death to America” and “Death to the soldier who killed our civilians”, while some of the protesters called for a public trial of the soldier by the UN in conjunction with the Afghan government.

President Hamid Karzai has heavily criticised the killings and called for an explanation from Washington for the “assassinations”.

US officials have identified the solider involved as a 38-year-old father of two who had trained as a sniper. They said he had recently suffered head injuries while deployed in Iraq.

In a speech yesterday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered condolences to the families of the victims “and to the people of Afghanistan”.

“This is not who we are, and the United States is committed to seeing that those responsible are held accountable,” she said.

The Taliban yesterday officially warned it would seek revenge over the killings, which have further fuelled anger against US troops.

Earlier today, an Afghan government delegation was attacked by Taliban gunmen while visiting one of the villages affected by the weekend’s shootings. President Karzai’s brother Qayum Karzai was among the delegation and he told said that the group was meeting with the relatives of the victims when they were attacked.

He did not believe anyone had been killed in the attack and had heard of one minor injury.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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