WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says the American suspected of killing 16 Afghan villagers Sunday is a soldier from Washington state who was assigned to a remote special operations site.
U.S. officials say the soldier acted alone, leaving his base in southern Afghanistan and opening fire on sleeping families in two villages.
The official says he is a conventional soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington state. 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.