Soldier dead in shootout at Afghan victims' memorial
Gunmen today attacked an Afghan memorial service for 16 villagers killed by a US soldier, shooting dead a member of the Afghan military and wounding a policeman in a hail of gunfire.world Updated: Mar 13, 2012 23:52 IST
Gunmen on Monday attacked on Tuesday an Afghan memorial service for 16 villagers killed by a US soldier, shooting dead a member of the Afghan military and wounding a policeman in a hail of gunfire.
It was the first deadly violence linked to the aftermath of Sunday's killings that the Taliban had vowed to avenge and US officials had warned could lead to a surge in anti-American violence in the war-torn country.
Two of President Hamid Karzai's brothers were in the delegation from Kabul, along with provincial government officials, a local reporter at the scene in Panjwayi district of southern Kandahar province told AFP.
"There was an armed attack on them from a distance and the firing continued for about 10 minutes," he said. "Bullets were coming like rain on us," another witness told AFP.
The interior ministry later confirmed that one Afghan soldier died. "One or more enemy were hiding there. When the delegation arrived they fired -- one soldier is dead and a policeman is injured," ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Taliban had vowed revenge after a US soldier walked off his base in the early hours of Sunday, broke into three houses and killed 16 people -- mainly women and children.
The dignitaries had left the area, with some heading back to Kandahar city, about 45 kilometres away, while others remained to continue an investigation into Sunday's shootings, a member of the delegation said.
Earlier today, about 400 university students chanting "Death to America -- Death to Obama" took to the streets of Jalalabad, in Afghanistan's first protest against the US army sergeant's killing spree. The crowd set fire to the US president in effigy and blocked the main highway to Kabul before dispersing after about two hours.