Already fraught tensions between NATO forces and the local population in Afghanistan are mounting after an American soldier—believed to be a staff sergeant—went on a shooting spree that killed at least 16 civilians, including nine children, while they slept in their homes in the early hours of Sunday morning. Britain’s Guardian reported that 11 of dead were members of the same family. After the shooter burst into their home, he spared only the father, named Wazir, and one child. The rest were killed.
The attack, which occurred in Panjwai, a suburb of Kandahar, has stoked widespread anger and calls for an immediate American withdrawal from the country. U.S. President Barack Obama has reportedly apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, calling to express his “shock and sadness” according to a White House press release.
Karzai has called the attacks “unforgivable,” and the Afghan parliament passed a resolution Monday saying the country has “run out of patience” for NATO forces. The Taliban, meanwhile, has pledged attacks of vengeance.
In the past few weeks, anger against the military that many Afghans view as foreign occupiers has been on the rise. Last month, riots erupted in the country after it became known that Qu’rans had been inadvertently burned at a NATO base. This latest act threatens recent progress that was reportedly made between Kabul and Washington that would allow U.S. special forces and American officials to stay in the country after the 2014 deadline for the withdrawal for combat troops.