Hillary Clinton on Afghanistan massacre: ‘This is not who we are’

Laura Rozen

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed shock and sadness Monday at the "terrible, awful" massacre of 16 Afghans by a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan Sunday, but she denied the incident would weaken U.S. resolve to the mission in Afghanistan.

"This is terrible, awful—I can't even imagine the impact on the families who were subject to this attack and the loss of children in this terrible incident," Clinton said Monday from New York.

"This is not who we are, and the United States is committed to seeing those responsible held accountable," she told journalists, who were on the sidelines of her meeting at the United Nations. Clinton is in New York today to meet with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to discuss Syria and to attend a meeting of the so-called Middle East Quartet (of which she and Lavrov are both members.)

"Now, we've had a difficult and complex few weeks in Afghanistan," she continued. "This terrible incident does not change our steadfast dedication to protecting the Afghan people and to doing everything we can to help build a strong and stable Afghanistan. ... But, we recognize that an incident like this is inexplicable and will certainly cause many questions to be asked."

Clinton vowed that the United States would hold fully accountable the persons determined responsible. A suspect in the shooting rampage, a 38-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant, is in custody and a full investigation is under way.

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