Afghan soldier killed at massacre scene as Afghans rage on streets

Afghan protestors shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province on March 13, 2012 (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Senior Afghan officials have been fired upon while visiting villages where a US soldier reportedly killed 16 civilians. One soldier from the delegation’s security unit was killed while another soldier and a military prosecutor were wounded.

"There was an armed attack on them from a distance, and the firing continued for about 10 minutes," a local reporter told Agence France-Presse.

The delegation, which included two of President Hamid Karzai's brothers and other senior officials, was in a mosque where a memorial service for victims of the US soldier's attack was underway when the shooting started. One Afghan soldier was immediately killed, the Associated Press reports.

"We were giving them our condolences, then we heard two very, very light shots,'' said one of the president's brothers, Qayum Karzai. "Then we assumed that it was the national army that started to fire in the air."

The attackers were armed with machine guns and assault rifles, and were riding motorcycles, local police say. “The security forces repelled the attack and are chasing the insurgents,” said Adubl Rahim Ayobi, a member of Parliament from the province, as cited by the New York Times.

The dignitaries left the area, some heading back to Kandahar, while others remained to continue an investigation into Sunday's shootings.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack on the delegation. On Sunday, the Taliban vowed to take revenge on those “defenseless Afghanis” killed in the two villages in Panjwai district on Sunday. The group reiterated that threat on Tuesday.

­“Death to America – Death to Obama” – Afghani protesters

­The killings have caused outrage all across Afghanistan with hundreds of students taking part in the first significant protest against the killings in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Tuesday.

The mob blocked a highway leading to the capital Kabul. About 400 students chanted anti-American slogans and demanded a public trial for the shooter.

They also burned an effigy of US President Barack Obama and shouted “Death to America – Death to Obama.” Some carried aggressive banners, one of them saying "Jihad (holy war) is the only way to get the invading Americans out of Afghanistan," AFP news agency reports.    

The protest follows a call by Afghanistan’s parliament to publicly try the shooter. American Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced on Monday that the soldier might face the death penalty if convicted. He added that the man will be tried under US military law.

This comes as the first demonstration after the bloody rampage on Sunday, when at least one US soldier, reportedly drunk, killed 16 Afghani villagers, including nine children. Witnesses said several US soldiers were involved and reported the shocking details of the atrocity.

The US embassy warned the protests following the recent killings may spread and become violent, just like demonstrations after several copies of the Koran were burned on a military base last month. That time 40 people were killed in violent protests. 

The Kandahar Governor held talks with villagers, trying to explain the suspected US soldier was insane. But people accuse officials of defending the Americans instead of the Afghan people.

NATO and US officials say they are sorry about the incident, but note the shooting must not derail the military mission in Afghanistan and would not affect the withdrawal of US troops by the end of 2014.

Afghan protesters shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration in Jalalabad (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Afghan protesters shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration in Jalalabad (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Afghan protesters carry an effigy of US President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Jalalabad (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Afghan protesters carry an effigy of US President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Jalalabad (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Afghan demonstrators burn an effigy of US President Barack Obama in a fire during a demonstration in Jalalabad (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)
Afghan demonstrators burn an effigy of US President Barack Obama in a fire during a demonstration in Jalalabad (AFP Photo / Noorullah Shirzada)