US soldier to be charged with 17 Afghan murders | Pakistan Today

US soldier to be charged with 17 Afghan murders

A US soldier is expected to be charged with 17 counts of murder on Friday over the killings of mostly women and children in a shooting rampage in southern Afghanistan. A US official confirmed the murder charges on condition of anonymity and said Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 38, would also be charged with six counts of assault and attempted murder. In Kabul, a senior US official said it had “pretty much been decided” the trial would be held in the United States, but furious relatives of the victims demanded the proceedings take place in Afghanistan instead. The massacre is believed to be the deadliest war crime by a NATO soldier during the decade-long conflict and has further strained the already difficult relationship between Washington and Kabul.
Bales allegedly walked off his base in the southern province of Kandahar under cover of darkness March 11 and killed 17 people in two nearby villages, including at least nine children and three women. He then allegedly burned some of their bodies, returned to his base and surrendered. Back in Kandahar, relatives of the victims demanded Bales go on trial in Afghanistan. Haji Samad, an elder who lost 11 members of his family, said: “He committed the crime in Afghanistan. Why he is going to be prosecuted in the US? “If this man is prosecuted in Afghanistan, we will be relieved, if he is prosecuted in the US we will be angry, and it will remain a pain in our hearts.”

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