KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Hundreds of students in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday shouted angry slogans against the United States and the American soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree, the first significant protest in response to the tragedy.
The killings before dawn Sunday in southern Kandahar province have caused outrage in Afghanistan. But even though most of the dead were women and children, they have not sparked the kind of violent protests seen last month after American soldiers burned Muslim holy books and other Islamic texts.
The more muted response could be a result of Afghans being used to dealing with civilian casualties in over a decade of war. Some have said the slayings in two villages in Panjwai district were more in keeping with Afghans' experience of deadly night raids and airstrikes by U.S.-led forces than the Quran burnings were.
But the students protesting at a university in Jalalabad city, 80 miles (125 kilometers) east of the capital Kabul, were incensed.
"Death to America!" and "Death to the soldier who killed our civilians!" shouted the crowd.
Some carried a banner that called for a public trial of the soldier, who U.S. officials have identified as a married, 38-year-old father of two who was trained as a sniper and recently suffered a head injury in Iraq.
Other protesters burned an effigy of President Barack Obama.
"The reason we are protesting is because of the killing of innocent children and other civilians by this tyrant U.S. soldier," said Sardar Wali, a university student. "We want the United Nations and the Afghan government to publicly try this guy."
Obama has expressed his shock and sadness and extended his condolences to the families of the victims. But he has also said the horrific episode would not speed up plans to pull out foreign forces, despite increasing opposition at home to the war in Afghanistan.