SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — The US Army has dropped one of the murder charges against the trooper who is accused of massacring Afghan civilians in March.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is now accused of murdering 16 civilians in a pre-dawn shooting spree in two Afghan villages in the country’s Kandahar province, his lawyer said Friday.
Initial reports said that 16 people were killed, but the Army put the figure at 17 when it first charged Bales.
The amended complaint also accuses Bales of wrongfully possessing and using steroids, unlawfully consuming alcohol while deployed, and burning the dead bodies.
According to Afghan eyewitnesses, the March 11 slaughter was carried out by more than one US soldier.
Afghan villagers said multiple US troops broke into their houses and asked about the Taliban.
They said they told the troops that there were no Taliban there, but the soldiers started shooting at people anyway.
The witnesses also stated that after the carnage, the soldiers piled up the dead bodies of the victims and set them on fire.
According to a fact-finding mission set up by the Afghan parliament, at least 20 US soldiers were involved in the massacre.
After investigating the circumstances and speaking to witnesses and locals, it was concluded that the crime could not have been committed by a single soldier, the head of the mission said on March 14.
Earlier, the Afghan government also confirms that more than one US soldier was involved in the mass murder of the Afghan civilians.
However, the US officials still insist that Bales was the only one responsible for the killings.
Relations between the two countries have plummeted to a new low as a result of the massacre of Afghan civilians. — www.shafaqna.com