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Afghan Civilians

November 6, 2012 | Kim Murphy
An Army staff sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a middle-of-the-night shooting rampage returned to his base midway through the killings, woke up a fellow soldier waving his gun in his face and told him to "smell his weapon. " It smelled like carbon, the serviceman testified Monday. "He said he'd just been to Alkozai, shot some people.... 'I shot some military-age males.' And I said, no you didn't," Sgt. Jason McLaughlin testified on the opening day of an Article 32 hearing for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is charged with attacking two small farm villages during assaults that spanned five hours.
November 5, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - A U.S. Army sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a middle-of-the-night rampage returned halfway through the killing spree and told a friend: “Hey Mac, I just shot some people in Alkozai,” an Army prosecutor said Monday at the opening of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' preliminary hearing on murder charges. When that fellow sergeant appeared not to believe him, telling him to “quit messing around” because he needed to go back to sleep, Bales said: “Cool, I'm going to Najiban, I'll be back at 5. " At that point, the 39-year-old sergeant left the base again and allegedly shot 11 people in that second village, south of the Army outpost near Kandahar.
April 8, 2012 | By Alex Rodriguez and Hashmat Baktash, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Tackling one of the major sources of friction in Washington's tenuous relationship with Kabul, U.S. officials on Sunday signed an agreement that gives Afghan authorities legal and operational oversight over nighttime raids carried out by American troops - a tactic that has been successful against Taliban insurgents but deeply unpopular with Afghan citizens. The pact with Afghan officials was hailed at a signing ceremony in Kabul, the capital, as an important steppingstone toward an overarching strategic partnership agreement that will govern the relationship between the two countries after U.S. troops withdraw at the end of 2014.
March 26, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
In her first media interview, Karilyn Bales - wife of the Army staff sergeant accused of murdering 17 Afghan civilians - says it's hard for her to believe her husband could have committed the killings. She also says she didn't notice behavior indicating that he could be suffering from post-traumatic  stress disorder. “This is not him. It's not him,” she told NBC's "Today" show in an interview near her home in Washington state. She described the 38-year-old soldier as a man who loved children and who wanted to avoid further combat deployments in order to spend more time with his own two kids.
March 22, 2012 | By David S. Cloud and Kim Murphy, Washington Bureau
An Army staff sergeant who allegedly gunned down civilians in southern Afghanistan this month will be charged Friday with 17 counts of murder, two U.S. officials said Thursday evening. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, was on his fourth combat deployment when the killings occurred. He is also likely to be charged with six counts of attempted murder and assault, one of the officials said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been made public.
March 20, 2012 | By David S. Cloud and Laura King, Los Angeles Times
  The Army staff sergeant held in the killing of 16 Afghan civilians initially told other soldiers that he had shot several Afghan men outside a U.S. combat outpost in southern Afghanistan on March 11, but did not mention that a dozen women and children were among the dead, according to a senior U.S. official briefed on the case. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales had "indicated to his buddies that he had taken out some military-aged males," the senior official told The Times. Soldiers frequently use that term to denote insurgents.
March 19, 2012 | By Kim Murphy and Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Lake Tapps, Wash., and Norwood, Ohio For those who grew up with him, Robert Bales seemed to have a place reserved on easy street. Captain of the football team and president of the sophomore class at his Ohio high school, Bales after just three years of college had an oceanfront condo in Florida. He was also pulling in more than $100,000 a year as a financial advisor. His investment work ran into trouble, though, and when the Sept. 11 attacks came, Bales felt what friends said was an irresistible call.
March 17, 2012 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
There are days here, in these war-haunted times, when it seems that death might come in any guise, and from any direction. From a bomb buried in the earth. From the sky. From a rusted motorbike haphazardly parked in a busy marketplace, with no one paying it and its deadly package any notice. Or from a soldier who breaks down doors in the dead of night, with murder in mind. Despite a shared sorrow and bewilderment, a jarring disparity has emerged in the way Americans and Afghans view the killings of 16 villagers in rural Kandahar province, allegedly at the hands of a lone U.S. Army staff sergeant named Robert Bales.
March 13, 2012
Relations between Afghanistan and the United States suffered another stunning setback Sunday when a rogue American soldier walked off his base in southern Afghanistan and went on a shooting spree that left 16 Afghan civilians dead, according to American and Afghan officials. The attacks - in which nearly all of the victims were women and children killed while they were sleeping - come less than a month after American military personnel were found to have burned Korans at Bagram air base, and two months after a video surfaced showing four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of three Taliban fighters.
March 11, 2012 | By Kim Geiger
Responding to reports that a U.S. serviceman killed 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting rampage in a village near Kandahar, President Obama called Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday to express his “shock and sadness.” Obama said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians.” “I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the...
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