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Afghanistan Shootings: US Soldier Accused Of Kandahar Massacre Flown To Kuwait

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The US soldier has been flown to Kuwait
The US soldier has been flown to Kuwait

The US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians during a shooting rampage in Kandahar on Sunday has been flown to Kuwait.

Although Afghan officials wanted the man to be tried in their country, US officials at the Pentagon said there were not "appropriate facilities" for holding the soldier there. The decision has sparked anger in Afghanistan, where people wanted to see the soldier face a public trial.

Mohammad Naeem Lalai Hamidzai, a member of parliament in Afghanistan and part of the commission investigating the incident told the Associated Press:

"It was the demand of the families of the martyrs of this incident, the people of Kandahar and the people of Afghanistan to try him publicly in Afghanistan."

Nine children and three women were among those killed in the shooting rampage, shot as they slept in their beds. Four men were also killed and five others were wounded.

There are differing accounts of the exact circumstances of the shooting, with some Afghan witnesses and officials saying that there was more than one gunman, according to The Telegraph.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai described the attacks as "impossible to forgive", saying in a statement on Sunday:

"When Afghan people are killed deliberately by US forces this action is murder and terror and an unforgivable action."

There are concerns that the soldier's removal from Afghanisation could cause further clashes in the country. Mass protests followed the accidental burning of the Koran by American soldiers at the end of last month. Some analysts viewed the book-burning as a "tipping point" for the country, likely to substantially increase support for the Taliban.

It is likely that the accused soldier will stand trial at a US military tribunal. Leon Panetta, US defence secretary, who is currently in Afghanistan, has said that the soldier could face the death penalty.

The defence secretary's arrival was marred by a suspected suicide bomb attack, after a Afghan driving a stolen pick up truck sped onto the runway, before the vehicle burst into flames. The driver died in hospital from his injuries.

Ministry of Defence police patrolled roads inside the base on Wednesday in the wake of the incident.

Panetta is due to meet with President Hamid Karzai, Afghan defence officials and provincial leaders, as well as taking part in routine discussions with his commanders on the ground.