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Mar 11, 2012 2:07 PM by Matt Stafford

Afghan president weighs in on shooting, 16 civilians dead

BALANDI, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai puts the death toll from an overnight shooting rampage in southern Kandahar at 16.

An American soldier is being blamed. NATO says he's been detained.

The deputy commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan says he's "dismayed" by the incident. Lt. Gen. Adrian Bradshaw says he can't explain the motivation for what he calls "callous acts," but adds they were "in no way" authorized.

In a statement, Karzai furiously demanded an explanation and noted his repeated demands that U.S. forces stop killing civilians. He calls the incident in Kandahar "an assassination" of innocent civilians that cannot be forgiven.

Afghan officials say the attacks took place in two villages not far from a U.S. base. One villager says the American entered at least three houses and opened fire.

Nine children and three women were among the dead.

The killings follow weeks of violent protests and attacks triggered by the burning of Muslim holy books at another U.S. base in Afghanistan.

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