Obama's call over Afghan massacre

US President Barack Obama has offered his condolences after an American soldier allegedly shot 16 villagers near a US army base.

In a phone call to Hamid Karzai, the US leader expressed his "shock and sadness" at the massacre, while military officials vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

The shootings took place in the villages of Balandi and Alkozai in Panjwai, southern Kandahar, about 500 yards away from a US base. A number of women and children are believed to be among the dead.

US officials said the soldier, reported to be an Army staff sergeant, was being detained in Kandahar. It is believed he handed himself in following the massacre.

President Obama said: "This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan."