No U.S. access to sites of Afghan killings
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been charged in the deaths of 17 Afghan villagers
March 29th, 2012
09:15 AM ET

No U.S. access to sites of Afghan killings

By Nick Paton Walsh

U.S. military officials have yet to gain access to the sites in which 17 Afghans were killed in Kandahar, an obstacle that could impede efforts to prosecute the American soldier accused of the multiple homicides.

U.S. personnel had not been able to collect DNA from the sites or access the areas, although DNA collected by Afghan investigators may have been received, an official said.

However, DNA has been found in blood on the clothing of the suspect, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

"We do not have access to the crime scene," said the U.S. official, who has knowledge of the investigation but did not want to be identified discussing an ongoing inquiry.

His account gives new insight into what apparently occurred the night of the March 11 attacks on two villages in the Panjwai district, near a remote U.S. outpost.

The official said Bales, 38, was meant to have been on duty guarding the base that night, and would have had full body armour and weaponry as standard.

He said he did not think alcohol had fueled the crime. "I do not think that drinking played a big role, but there may have been some level of drinking," the official said.

Bales was first spotted leaving the base around 1 a.m. by an Afghan guard. It is not clear why the guard did not alert Bales' superiors at that time, and the official said Bales was not noticed when he returned to the compound an hour later.

It was then, during about 30 minutes when he was on the base, that he returned to his accommodation and woke at least one roommate, another U.S. Army soldier, the official said.

"The exact conversation is unclear," the official said, but Bales claimed he had been killing Afghan civilians off the base, which his roommate dismissed as nonsense.

A different Afghan guard then saw Bales leave the base a second time. He alerted his command that someone had left the outpost, and the information was passed to the U.S. soldier in charge of the base.

"The whole base was woken up," the official said, for an accountability check - a rare instance in which a small unit of soldiers on a base have to count their number.

A search party was then formed, but within a few meters of leaving the compound, it ran into Bales, who had been spotted by a surveillance camera returning toward the base.

That was at 3:30 a.m., about 2½ hours after he first left the base, the official said, stressing that fashioning a precise timeline of that night has been challenging.

U.S. soldiers noticed Bales had blood on him, and he dropped to the ground saying nothing, the official said.

Bales has maintained his silence on the killings since, the official said, his last words to U.S. personnel being to his roommate.

In response to suggestions Bales was traumatized in part by a recent injury to a U.S. colleague, the official said that a soldier at the base had lost a leg in a explosion three or four days earlier but that there was no reason to suspect Bales had been present at the scene of that blast.

In addition to the 17 charges of murder "with premeditation," Bales faces six counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault.

He returned to the United States earlier this month and is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Uggs Fluff Flip Flops

    Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I'd figured I'd ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you're interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!
    Uggs Fluff Flip Flops http://www.uggsclearancebootsonsale.net/uggs-fluff-flip-flops-cd22.html

    November 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  2. Jay

    Im a NAV vet and have been places and seen things that I'll take to my grave. I wish i had a pair of these glasses,
    http://www.directsecuritysales.com/hidden-cameras-with-dvrs/sunglasses-hidden-camera-with-dvr.html

    June 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  3. KIM IS GAY

    but besides that let the man go there is no evidence.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:13 am | Reply
  4. most powerful denied access

    so according to this report the usa is held back and denied access and not allowed to go there ?

    if that is the case the usa is very aware that this could brake out into a war with both afghanistan and pakistan and plus the taliban, tensions must be through the roof if this report is even close to being factual ! WOW WHAT A DESASTER

    March 29, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.