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U.S. army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will
be charged with 17 counts of murder, assault and a string of other
offences in the massacre of Afghan villagers as they slept, a U.S.
The charges signed against Bales include 17 counts of murder, six
counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault as well
as dereliction of duty and other violations of military law, the
official said on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been
The 38-year-old soldier and father of two who lives in Lake Tapps,
Wash., is charged with going on a shooting rampage in two villages near
his southern Afghanistan military post in the early hours of March 11,
gunning down nine Afghan children and eight adults and burning some of
the victims’ bodies.
The charges are to be read to Bales on Friday. He is being held in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and faces trial under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The killings were yet another blow to U.S.-Afghan relations,
following a series of missteps, including the accidental burning of
Qur’ans, which prompted violent protests and revenge killings American
troops in the war zone.