President Obama says whoever is responsible for killings of Afghan civilians will be prosecuted

03/13/12 wire reports including AP
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President Barack Obama says he is directing the Pentagon to do a very thorough investigation of the weekend killings of Afghan civilians, allegedly by a U.S. soldier.

Obama says the inquiry will "follow the facts" wherever they lead, and that anyone found responsible will be prosecuted fully.

Speaking at the White House, Obama says the U.S. will "responsibly" draw down its forces between now and the end of 2014, the date he set with allies to close out the war.

Meanwhile, an Afghan soldier on the security detail was killed when Taliban militants opened fire on an Afghan government delegation in southern Afghanistan today.

The delegation, which included two of President Hamid Karzai's brothers and other senior officials, was visiting villages where the U.S. soldier is suspected of killing 16 civilians.

Authorities say the gunfire also wounded another Afghan soldier and a military prosecutor.

The delegation was in a mosque for a memorial service for those killed in Sunday's shooting when the gunfire erupted.

One of the president's brothers said the members of the delegation were safe and headed back to Kandahar city.

Before the attack on the delegation, the Taliban vowed to kill and behead those responsible for the civilian deaths in the two villages.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the death penalty is possible if the soldier is convicted.

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