Afghan Killings: US Soldier Suspect Is Named

March 17th, 20124:20 am @


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4:14am UK, Saturday March 17, 2012

The US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians has been identified in media reports as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.

The 38-year-old was named after he was flown back to the United States to face charges.

He has now arrived at a maximum security military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, after being flown from Kuwait, the US Army said.

It added he will be held in solitary confinement pending charges.

Robert Bales, right, has been named as the US soldier responsible for the killing of 16 civilians in Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, right, has been named as the soldier accused of killing civilians in Afghanistan (Pic: DVIDS)

Staff Sergeant Bales is believed to have walked off his base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday and gunned down the villagers.

The incident has plunged tense Afghan-US relations into a tailspin, with President Hamid Karzai accusing America of failing to co-operate in the wake of the massacre.

He has said he is at “the end of the rope” over the shootings.

Relatives of the dead in Kandahar province have insisted there must have been more than one shooter and argued they did not receive all the information they asked for from Americans.

US soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai village following the shooting of Afghan civilians in Panjwayi district, Kandahar, Afghanistan

US soldiers guard a military base near the shootings in Panjwayi, Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant Bales is said by his lawyer to have been suffering stress after seeing his friend’s leg blown off a day before the attack.

Defence lawyer John Henry Browne also said his client had been injured twice while serving in Iraq.

“He and his family were told that his tours in the Middle East were over. His family was counting on him not being redeployed,” Mr Brown said.

“Literally overnight that changed. So I think it would be fair to say that he and the family were not happy that he was going back.”

Mr Browne has dismissed as “nonsense” suggestions that the soldier, who had trained as a sniper, had been suffering any marital or alcohol problems.

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