Obama: Afghan shooting rampage was work of lone gunman

WASHINGTON Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:58am IST

ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY An Afghan man looks over the dead bodies of people killed by coalition forces in Kandahar province, March 11, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmad Nadeem

ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY An Afghan man looks over the dead bodies of people killed by coalition forces in Kandahar province, March 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ahmad Nadeem

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama denied on Monday that a deadly shooting rampage by a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan was comparable to the notorious My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War but said it underscored the need to push on with the transition to Afghan security responsibility there.

"It's not comparable," Obama told WFTV in Orlando when asked whether the killing of 16 Afghan villagers on Sunday could be likened to the 1968 massacre of civilians by U.S. forces in South Vietnam. "It appeared you had a lone gunman who acted on his own."

"In no way is this representative of the enormous sacrifices that our men and women have made in Afghanistan," Obama said. But he added, "It does signal the importance of us transitioning in accordance with my plans that Afghans are taking more of the initiative in security."

(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick)

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