US official: Afghan war not becoming sectarian war

By the Associated Press | December 10, 2011 | 3:05 AM EST

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan says he does not think this week's deadly suicide bombing at a Shiite shrine in Kabul will spark a sectarian war between religious factions in the country.

Ryan Crocker said Saturday that he doubts the Pakistan-based militant group blamed for the bombing has an Afghan affiliate.

He says he doesn't know who carried out Tuesday's attack, which killed 56 people, but that it might have been orchestrated by a consortium of militant groups assembled outside of Afghanistan.

He says Afghan leaders' calls for calm indicates the war is not escalating into a sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.