Taliban Vows Revenge for US Soldier's Killing Spree

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Relations between the United States and Afghanistan are once again in crisis after an American soldier allegedly went on a shooting rampage, killing as many as 16 Afghan civilians.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is calling it "an assassination" that cannot be forgiven.

At about 3 a.m. local time a U.S. Army staff sergeant left his base and went to a nearby village and began shooting victims at random. Three of those victims were women and nine were children.

"We can say definitively that this was an individual acting alone, not with authority," Pentagon spokesman Army Capt. John Kirby said. "We also have the individual, the suspect, in custody, U.S. custody."

"I can't think of anybody in the world who'd say that going and killing 16 civilians and children is OK -- anywhere in the world, much less when you're wearing that American flag," Army Spc. Jared Richardson said.

The suspect is said to be a married father of two from Joint Base Lewi-McChord in Washington, D.C. This was his fourth deployment.

Lewis-McChord is home to more than 100,000 soldiers and has seen its share of controversy.

"The things that have been coming out of that base...like the Afghan kill team and the rise of suicide rates and the rise of PTSD claims, it's not surprising at all," Jorge Gonzalez, manager of Coffee Strong Café, said.

Meanwhile, President Obama is condemning the attack and offering his condolences to the Afghan people.

"This incident is tragic and shocking and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan," he said in a statement.

The attack, which took place one month after U.S. personnel were spotted burning Korans, brings new fears of retaliation against U.S. soldiers. The Taliban is already vowing to take revenge.

The United States is not scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan until the end of 2014. But officials say an earlier exit may be necessary if violence in the region escalates.

Support for the war at home is dropping. A recent ABC News polls shows 60 percent of American's believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting. At least, 54 percent say the U.S. should withdraw at once.

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.