Kabul: Charges against an American soldier
accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians are expected to be
filed within a week and if the case goes to court the trial
will be held in the United States, a US military legal expert
said on Sunday.
Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales is suspected of leaving a US
base in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, entering homes
and gunning down nine children, four men and three women
before dawn on March 11. He is currently being held at a US
military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The legal expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity
because of the sensitivity of the case, also said that US
officials were discussing the best way to compensate the
relatives of the victims and those wounded.
Afghan investigators and members of parliament from the
area have said that they believe more than one US soldier
perhaps as many as 20 conducted the killings in southern
Afghanistan. But the legal expert said that while the case was
still being investigated, there was no indication that more
than one person was involved in the shooting spree.
A US official familiar with the case said that was
The US official also spoke on condition of anonymity to
discuss details of the investigation.
Villagers from the area also have alleged that women were
sexually assaulted during the rampage. The US official said
there was no evidence at this time that any of the women were
raped. The official said the US military investigators were
looking into those allegations along with many others.
Five other people, including three children under the age
of 10, were wounded in the incident and evacuated by coalition
helicopters to Kandahar Air Field, the official said. It was
the second time that one of the children had been treated for
a gunshot wound at the air field, the official said.