Sgt. Robert Bales To Be Charged With Murder
The Army plans to announce their plans tomorrow, according to officials.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Bales, 38, was on his fourth combat deployment when the shooting spree occurred. He is also likely to be charged with six counts of attempted murder and assault, one of the officials said.
The attack, one of the worst civilian casualty incidents in the decade-old war, has raised questions about what prompted it and has deepened strains between the U.S. and its Afghan allies.
U.S. officials are hopeful that the charges, less than two weeks after the shootings, will be seen in Afghanistan as an indication that the United States is determined to hold the perpetrator accountable, although a court-martial could be months or even years away.
Bales was taken from Afghanistan to an Army base in Kansas last week, where he has been in solitary confinement.
According to Army officials, Bales will also be charged with six counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault for allegedly wounding six other villagers during his shooting spree.
Experts say the attacks come at a vulnerable time for the United States.
From The Washington Post:
The attacks came at a time of evaporating trust between the U.S. military and its Afghan allies.
In January, an Internet video depicted U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. Soon after, American troops burned copies of the Koran and other holy texts, an apparently inadvertent act that sparked widespread riots.
Meanwhile, Afghan soldiers and others have stepped up treacherous attacks on U.S. troops, including the slaying of two U.S. officers assigned to the high- security Afghan Interior Ministry. Last week, an Afghan interpreter working for NATO hijacked a truck, immolated himself and tried to run down a crowd of high-ranking Marines waiting to greet Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta as his plane landed in Helmand province.
Military officials so far have not offered a motive for the Kandahar killings, but they have said they are investigating whether Bales was drinking on the night of the attacks.