A U.S. soldier has been detained in Afghanistan for shooting and wounding several civilians in southern province Kandahar, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition said on Sunday.
“It was a shooting incident involving multiple civilians wounded,” said the spokesman, Captain Justin Brockhoff, adding that there were no initial reports of deaths in the attack which took place on Sunday.
Civilian casualties have been a major source of friction between President Hamid Karzai’s government and U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.
“U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, in cooperation with Afghan authorities, will investigate this incident,” ISAF said in a statement.
“This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved.”
Kandahar Governor Tooryalai Wisa earlier told Reuters a U.S. soldier left his base in Kandahar and opened fire on civilians. He said initial reports indicated up to 16 civilians were killed.
Anti-American sentiment is running high in Afghanistan and it may deepen if news of the shooting spreads.
Anger gripped the country after U.S. soldiers burned a large number of copies of the Koran at a NATO base last month. NATO said it was a tragic blunder.
Thirty people were killed in protests and Afghan forces turned their weapons on U.S. soldiers, killing six.