British Queen celebrates


Britain will stick to its plans for a 2014 pullout from Afghanistan despite tensions over the shooting of 16 villagers by a US soldier, David Cameron's spokesman said Monday.

The spokesman said that the killing spree in the southern province of Kandahar, which has sparked a new crisis in relations between western countries and Afghanistan, was "abhorrent".

"This was clearly a tragic event that has taken place. Our hearts and sympathies go out to the families of those that have died," the Downing Street spokesman told reporters.

"As far as we are aware it was an abhorrent act by a single individual. There is a NATO-ISAF investigation underway.


"But we are sticking to our course. And we have a clear plan which is a measured transition which will allow the Afghans to take over responsibility for security from ISAF forces."

Asked if there was a risk to British troops in Afghanistan following the incident, the spokesman said: "We have a defined course and we are sticking to it. On the particular issue of UK forces, clearly that is an issue for forces on the ground."

Britain is the second biggest contributor of troops to Afghanistan after the United States, with 9,500 soldiers there.

It is set to pull all combat forces out of the country by the end of 2014 in line with other NATO nations.

The Afghan parliament on Monday demanded that the US soldier should be put on public trial in Afghanistan for the killings, the latest in a series of actions by foreign troops that have provoked outrage.

AFP, photo: gia_82