US, Afghanistan relations tense following civilian massacre

POSTED: Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 5:34pm

Sixteen civilians, including nine children, were gunned down as they slept in an Afghan village.

An American serviceman is in custody. President Obama phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express his condolences, but insisted the act doesn't represent America's military or its respect for Afghanistan.

Karzai called it an act of terror that will never be forgiven.

"It was a senseless tragedy,” Barry McCaffrey, retired US Army, military analyst, explained. “The larger problem will be, this is a spark landing on this tinderbox of Afghanistan following the Koran burnings."

The burning of the Muslim holy book in a trash dump on an American air base in Afghanistan unleashed a torrent of violence and unrest that left dozens dead, including six members of the US military.

In Washington, President Obama's 2014 timeline for a troop pullout is facing new scrutiny, but not everyone is ready to pull the plug.

"I understand the anger and the sorrow,” Senator John McCain, (rep) Arizona, notes. “I also understand and we should not forget the attacks on the United States of America in 9/11 originated in Afghanistan."

After a decade of war one stunning act of violence is threatening to unravel what's left of the frayed relations between the United States and Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Panetta promised the Afghans a thorough investigation and swift justice.

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