Afghan massacre 'too big' for 1 US soldier

2012-11-12 13:00
Robert Bales. (File, AP)

Robert Bales. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - A lone shooter could not have committed the massacre of 16 Afghan villagers blamed on a US soldier, a witness testified late on Sunday, stressing the scale of the atrocity.

The defence witness said the extent of the carnage, wrought overnight in two villages near a US army base in March, was too great for it to be the work of only Sergeant Robert Bales, facing a possible court martial.

"One person cannot do this work," said Khudai Dad of the Afghan Uniform Police, who searched the scene of the killings the next morning. "One person doesn't have the courage to go from one village to another in the night."

Bales, balding with close-cropped blond hair and wearing standard army combat uniform, showed no emotion as he watched the testimony on a small monitor placed in front of him.

He faces 16 counts of murder, six of attempted murder, seven of assault, two of using drugs and one of drinking alcohol. Seventeen of the 22 victims were women or children and almost all were shot in the head.

The 39-year-old allegedly left his base in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar province on the night of 11 March to commit the killings, which included nine children. He allegedly set several of their bodies on fire.

Simultaneous attack?


Prosecutors at a pre-trial hearing, held on an army base south of Seattle, have alleged that Bales left the base twice to carry out the killings, returning in between and even telling a colleague what he had done.

For the last three nights it has heard testimony by video link from southern Afghanistan - held at night to allow witnesses to give their accounts during the daytime.

Dad, the last witness to appear by video link, said he believed the two attacks must have happened simultaneously.

He said he went first to the US base, then to what was described as the first crime scene. Although the Afghan National Army (ANA) were only supposed to secure the scene until he arrived, some shell casings were missing.

"The ANA was there before I [arrived]. They picked up all the shell casings, all the rounds," he said, adding that he himself had found a total of 13 shells.

In one house, "there was blood in the entrance when the woman came to the front door and was shot", said Dad.

After searching three homes in the two villages involved, he said he was struck by the impression that more than one person would have had to be involved.

Trusting wife

"I was thinking this is not a thing that one person can do," he said, while adding that he believed the attacks occurred at the same time as each other, somewhere between midnight and 03:00.

Bales was flown from Afghanistan back to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas shortly after the alleged massacre, before being moved back to Fort Lewis-McChord recently, home base of the US 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment.

His wife and two children were moved to the sprawling military base south of Seattle for their own security, and to shield them from the glare of the media in the wake of the killings.

Before the hearings, Bales' wife reiterated her belief that he was innocent, saying he did not remember the shootings and was shocked when he was told details of the allegations against him.

The massacre is thought to be the deadliest crime by a US soldier during the decade-long conflict and tested Washington and Kabul's already tense relationship to the limit.

The so-called Article 32 pre-trial hearing, to decide whether Bales should face a court martial, started on 5 November and is expected to wrap up this week, in theory on Tuesday.

Read more on:    robert bales  |  us  |  afghanistan  |  afghanistan shooting
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Financial Manager: Little Karoo

Western Cape
BHRS
R123 - R1 234 Per Year

Engineering Manager

Western Cape
Pro-Tech Recruitment
R850 000 - R1 100 000 Per Year

Analyst Developer

Western Cape
Progressive IT Resourcing (Pty) Ltd

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.