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10 Afghan Civilians Shot Dead By "Abnormal" US Soldier

An American soldier, who is said to have been suffering from a nervous breakdown, shot dead at least 10 civilians and wounded five others in a per-dawn incident in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Sunday.

The unnamed soldier reportedly walked out of his military base in Panjwai district by around 3 am local time and started shooting at civilians in neighboring houses in the village of Alkozai, reports said.

A local reporter who visited the site said he saw at least 16 bodies, including those of women and children, belonging to three families from the same village.

The rogue soldier then reportedly surrendered to US military authorities in his base, Western military officials said.

NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the soldier was arrested, and that U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), in cooperation with Afghan authorities, will investigate this incident.

"This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved," ISAF said in a statement.

It referred requests for information regarding Afghan casualties to the Afghan Interior Ministry.

The US embassy in Kabul issued a travel alert advising against traveling near the military base, where local residents reportedly gathered to protest the killings.

The incident occurs as Afghan anger over the burning of copies of the Holy Koran at a U.S. airbase last month is yet to subside.

It was followed by widespread street protests in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of at least two dozen people.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter of apology to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai over the incident.

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