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Pentagon says gunman in Afghan killing acted alone

03-13-2012 08:26 BJT

WASHINGTON, March 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Department on Monday said officials believe a lone service member was involved in the shooting deaths of 16 civilians in Afghanistan's Kandahar province over the weekend, and the United States won't change its fundamental strategy in Afghanistan.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the soldier, who left his base and killed 16 Afghans in nearby villages Sunday, acted alone, and he turned himself in to authorities upon returning to the base.

"We believe at this time only one service member was involved," Little said, adding the investigation into the incident continues. He wouldn't speculate the motive of the incident, but said the actions of one individual will not force the United States to change its fundamental strategy in Afghanistan.

Little characterized the killing as "an isolated incident," vowing to "pursue accountability for the alleged actions of this service member." He said the U.S. side "continue to work closely with our Afghan partners throughout the country to pursue our common mission."

As to Afghan calls that the service member be tried publicly in Afghanistan, Little said the prosecutions of U.S. service members are governed by "agreements in place with the government of Afghanistan." He said an investigative team and a prosecutor have been assigned, but the U.S. side is "going to work closely with the Afghans on this investigation."

The soldier had served multiple tours in Iraq and is on his first Afghanistan deployment, the press secretary said.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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