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Kerry: Reported Shooting Of 16 Afghans By American Soldier “Tragic”

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WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — A U.S. official says the American suspected of killing 16 Afghan villagers Sunday is a soldier from Washington who was assigned to a remote special operations site.

U.S. officials say the soldier acted alone, leaving his base in southern Afghanistan and opening fire on sleeping families in two villages.

The official says he is a conventional soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. He was assigned to support a special operations unit of either Green Berets or Navy SEALs engaged in a village stability operation.

Such operations are among NATO’s best hopes for transitioning out of Afghanistan. They pair special operations troops with local villagers chosen by village elders to become essentially a sanctioned, armed neighborhood watch.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still ongoing.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry released a statement about the shooting.

“From what I’ve picked up, it’s tragic, and the Pentagon is moving quickly and appropriately to find out what happened, ensure accountability, and manage the risk it creates for our troops.” – John Kerry

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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