Barack Obama has vowed a swift probe into the killing of 16 Afghans by an
American soldier as he called his counterpart Hamid Karzai to express
shock over the incident, which has sparked fresh tensions after the
burning of copies of the Quran at a US-run military base.
who telephoned Karzai last night, "extended his condolences to the people
of Afghanistan, and made clear his administration's commitment to
establish the facts as quickly as possible and to hold fully accountable
anyone responsible," the White House said in a statement.
called Karzai to express his "shock and sadness" over the killing of 16
civilians, mostly women and children.
He "reaffirmed our deep
respect for the Afghan people and the bonds between our two countries,"
the statement said. Before speaking to Karzai, Obama had issued a
statement describing the Kandahar incident as "tragic and shocking", which
did not represent American values.
"This incident is tragic and
shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military
and the respect that the US has for people of Afghanistan," he said.
am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan
civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those
who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured
too much violence and suffering," Obama said.
US-Afghan ties had
plunged to an all-time low last month after the burning of copies of Quran
at the American-run military base in Bagram, an incident which triggered
anti-US protests across Afghanistan which left around 40 people dead.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta also called Afghan President
Karzai to express his condolences.