Clinton saddened by killing of 16 Afghans

United Nations: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday said she is "shocked and saddened" by the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by an American soldier, acknowledging that incidents like these, including the recent burning of the Quran has made Afghanistan "difficult and complex" for the US.

An American Army staff sergeant went on a shooting spree and killed 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, in southern Afghanistan on Sundy. She said that "we have had a difficult and complex few weeks in Afghanistan.That is obvious to everyone."

Clinton, who is participating in talks at the UN on the crisis in Syria, said a full investigation into the shootings is underway and the US is committed to bringing those responsible to justice.

"Like many Americans, I was shocked and saddened by the killings of innocent Afghan villagers this weekend. This is not who we are and the US is committed to seeing that those responsible are held accountable," Clinton said.

Clinton said she joins President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in expressing regret over the "terrible and awful" incident and sends condolences to the families of the victims.

"I cannot even imagine the impact on the families who were subject to this attack and the loss of children in this terrible incident.

"We recognise that an incident like this is inexplicable and will certainly cause many questions to be asked but I hope that everyone understands in Afghanistan and around the world that US is committed to seeing Afghanistan continue its move towards a stable, secure, prosperous, democratic state," she said. The incident comes weeks after there was widespread anger and uproar in Afghanistan over the burning of copies of the Quran by American troops last month.