President Barack Obama is offering condolences to the families of more than a dozen Afghans who were allegedly shot by a U.S. soldier on Sunday.

In a statement released by the White House, Obama called the attack "tragic and shocking." He also vowed "to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible."

Afghan officials reported that 16 people were killed, including nine children and three women, in southern Kandahar province. In a statement, Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls the incident in Kandahar "an assassination" of innocent civilians that cannot be forgiven.

Afghan officials say the attacks took place in two villages not far from a U.S. base.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he told Karzai that a suspect is in custody and that "we will bring those responsible to justice."

One U.S. official says the suspect is an Army staff sergeant who is believed to have acted alone. Initial reports indicate he returned to his base in Kandahar after the shooting and turned himself in.

AP source: Afghanistan killer from Wash. State


A U.S. official says the American accused in the shooting is a soldier from Washington who was assigned to a remote special operations site.

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.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)