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A US soldier has come out of his base in southern Afghanistan and started shooting Afghan civilians, the provincial governor said.

People were both killed and wounded in the shooting spree in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, Governor Tooryalai Wesa told reporters, though he did not provide numbers.

Nato forces spokesman Justin Brockhoff said a US service member had been detained as the alleged shooter but did not provide details on the incident.

He said the coalition had reports of "multiple wounded" but none killed. The wounded are receiving treatment at Nato medical facilities, he said.

The service member is being held at a Nato base and US forces are investigating the shooting in co-operation with Afghan authorities, Mr Brockhoff said. He said it was not clear if the alleged shooter knew the victims.

The shooting comes after weeks of tense relations between US forces and their Afghan hosts following the burning of Korans and other religious materials at an American base.


Though US officials apologised and said the burning was an accident, the incident sparked violent protests and attacks that killed some 30 people. Six US troops have been killed in attacks by their supposed Afghan colleagues since the Koran burnings came to light.

Meanwhile, a prominent Afghan women's rights activist said gunmen attacked her office in a western province overnight in an apparent assassination attempt.

Malalai Joya, a former Afghan lawmaker and vocal critic of both the Taliban and of criminality in the Afghan government, said the attack on her office in Farah province was the sixth attempt on her life to date.

Armed men tried to storm the compound late in the night on Saturday, she said. The attackers did not get into the building but two of her guards were seriously injured and are currently in the hospital.

AFP, photo: The U.S. Army