As the U.S. military pursues charges against the Army sergeant accused of killing Afghan civilians in what commanders say was a freelance rampage, there continues to be a discrepancy between the official count of those killed and the murder count Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is charged with.
The word of 17 murders first leaked Thursday evening. Earlier that same day the commander of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan made no mention of the number being higher.
"Just as tragic, we're now investigating what appears to be the murder of 16 innocent Afghan civilians at the hand of a U.S. servicemember," Gen. John Allen told the Senate Armed Services Committee. FULL POST
From CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
Military investigators believe the American soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians earlier this month committed the shootings during two separate trips off his base, a U.S. official confirms to CNN.
“We believe the shooter went to one village, came back and went to a second village,” this official said.
The official, who whould not speak on the record because the investigation is ongoing, said this conclusion was reached based on a number of factors, citing the interviews and the overall investigation.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been charged with 17 counts of murder and could face the death penalty if convicted of any of them.
By Larry Shaughnessy
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The 16 Afghans killed in a shooting spree in early March were buried without autopsies, in accordance with the Islamic tradition of a quick burial. Any effort to do disinter the bodies and do an autopsy would probably be resisted by the Afghan villagers.
But that could present one of many challenges military prosecutors will have in making a case against the alleged shooter, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.
From Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged with 17 counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder related to a March 11 shooting spree in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.
The charges are expected to be announced Friday. The official could not explain why the count is now 17,when 16 have been reported killed in the incident. FULL POST
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, being held for alleged killing of 16 Afghan villagers earlier this month, will be tried in the United States, a military official told reporters in Afghanistan. Afghan officials had called for a public trial in Afghanistan. But after Bales was whisked out of the country last week to Kuwait, and finally to Kansas on Friday, it seemed highly improbable the the U.S. military was not going to be holding a trial in Afghanistan. FULL POST