`Killer` US soldier snapped under stress, domestic tensions

The US soldier who went on a shooting spree, had "snapped" under high stress of long combat tours, familial tensions and alcohol.

New York: The US soldier who went on a
shooting spree, killing 16 civilians, including nine children
in Afghanistan last week, had "snapped" under high stress of
long combat tours, familial tensions and alcohol.

More details have emerged about the unidentified US staff
sergeant, whose overnight door-to-door rampage landed the
already fragile US-Afghan relations in further tight spot.

The 38-year-old combat sergeant has been flown out of
Afghanistan and is being moved to a prison in America.
A New York Times report said a senior American official
has given details about the US soldier`s state before he went
and killed the Afghan civilians.

The official said the sergeant had been drinking alcohol,
in violation of military rules in combat zones, and was
suffering from the stress related to his fourth combat tour
coupled with tensions with his wife about the deployments on
the night of the massacre.

"When it all comes out, it will be a combination of
stress, alcohol and domestic issues he just snapped," said
the official, who has been briefed on the investigation but
spoke on condition of anonymity.

The American official said the military was preparing to
move the sergeant, who was flown to Kuwait, to a US prison
most likely in Fort Leavenworth Kansas, as early as Friday.

He said the sergeant`s sudden transfer to the US is the
result of a "behind-the-scenes" diplomatic uproar with Kuwait,
which learned of the sergeant`s move to an American base on
Kuwaiti territory from news reports before the United States
government could alert the Kuwaitis about it.

"When they learned about it, the Kuwaitis blew a gasket
and wanted him out of there," the official said.

The father of two was on his first combat tour in
Afghanistan and his fourth tour in all, including three in
Iraq, since he enlisted in 2001.

"There will be questions raised about his emotional and
mental stability for a fourth deployment," the American
official said.

The identity of the soldier has not yet been revealed by
the Army. A lawyer who said he had been appointed by the
soldier`s family rubbished claims that the US soldier had
tensions with his wife.

John Henry Browne of Seattle, said it was "nonsense" that
there were exceptional marital tensions. "I know that is not
true," he said at a news conference in Seattle.

The soldier and his wife had "a very healthy marriage,"
Browne said. Their two children are 3 and 4 years old.

Browne added that the inaccuracy of the claim made him
"suspicious" of the suggestion that alcohol and stress
contributed, though he noted that virtually anyone at a remote
base in Afghanistan would be under stress.

The day before the shooting, a soldier in the same unit
had been "gravely injured," Browne said.

Browne said he had spoken with the soldier over phone and
met with "a very large group of family members". He described
the soldier as being "decorated many, many times," who had
enlisted in the Army within a week of the 9/11 terrorist

"He felt it was his duty to stand up for the United
States," said Browne, who has handled many high-profile cases
in the Northwest, including the recent defence of the teenage
fugitive known as the Barefoot Bandit, Colton Harris-Moore.

"He was injured twice and he was deployed back to
Afghanistan," Browne added. "He is a career military man".

He added, "He was injured in Iraq in two places on his
body, so he wasn`t certain he was healthy enough to go back,

Browne said the soldier suffered a concussion during a
vehicle accident caused by a roadside bomb and had also lost
part of a foot in another incident, according to the New York
Times article.

Confirming that the soldier was part of the Third Stryker
Brigade, Second Infantry, the lawyer had served three tours in
Iraq with that unit.

He declined to comment on the sergeant`s psychological or
mental health issues and on whether he had confessed.
Criticising reports from government officials, Browne said
"The government is going to want to blame this on an
individual rather than blame it on the war," he said.