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US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians identified

Washington, Sat, 17 Mar 2012 ANI

Washington, Mar 17 (ANI): The US soldier, who allegedly killed 16 Afghans, has been named as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.


The 38-year-old Army staff sergeant's identity was a closely-held secret since he was arrested last Sunday after he had allegedly attacked two villages in Kandahar and killed nine children and seven adults.


Bales has been flown from a temporary military prison in Kuwait to a maximum security cell at Fort Leavenworth, The Telegraph reports.


According to his lawyer, John Henry Browne, Bales was enlisted in the US Army shortly after the September 11 attacks, and served three tours in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan in December of last year.


Browne said the father-of-two was reluctant about being deployed in Afghanistan in December and added that the day before the killings, he had seen a fellow soldiers' leg blown off.


According to an American official. on the day of the massacre Bales and two other US soldiers had reportedly been drinking despite military rules banning alcohol from the combat zones.


"When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues - he just snapped," the official told the New York Times.


According to the report, Bales' identity was revealed on same day Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai complained America had hindered his own government's investigation of the massacre.


Karzai said he was "at the end of his rope" over the number of civilians killed by NATO forces and said US officials failed to co-operate with his own team investigating the killings in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar. (ANI)


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