Afghan Civilian Killings Spark Outcry

March 12, 2012 Updated: March 14, 2012

The killing of 16 civilians by an American soldier in Afghanistan sparked a public backlash, with the country’s parliament condemning the killing and the Taliban issuing threats on Monday.

U.S. officials warned that reprisal attacks from the Taliban and civilians could take place following the incident. 

“U.S. citizens in Afghanistan should remain vigilant and avoid areas where Westerners congregate. Avoid large public gatherings or demonstrations,” the American Embassy in Kabul said in a statement late on Sunday.

Media photos taken in Afghanistan show crowds of people gathering outside of military bases.

In a statement, the Taliban called the killing “barbaric” and assured it will “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers.”

Afghanistan’s parliament condemned the killing, saying patience is wearing thin.

“The Wolesi Jirga [parliament] announces that once again Afghans have run out of patience with the arbitrary actions of foreign forces,” reads a statement from the parliament on Monday, according to Al-Jazeera.

U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, to express his condolences over the attack and assured him than an investigation would take place. However, Karzai said the shooting, which killed mainly women and children, could not be forgiven.

The soldier, who is believed to be a staff sergeant, is said to have left his base in Kandahar Province and broken into three houses, killing a number of the residents inside, according to the BBC.