Suspect in killing of Afghan civilians identified

Friday, March 16, 2012
In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 photo, Afghan official Asadullah Khaled, right, makes a phone call as villagers gather at a U.S. military base after the death of 16 civilians in Panjwai, Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 11, 2012. At centre is Abdul Samad who is reported to have lost several members of his family in the incident. An Afghan youth recounted on Monday the terrifying scene in his home as a lone U.S. soldier moved stealthily through it during a killing spree, then crouched down and shot his father in the thigh as he stepped out of the bedroom. The soldier, now in U.S. custody, is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in their homes in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday and then burning some of their corpses. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said nine of those killed were children and three were women.(AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A senior U.S. official says the soldier accused in the killing of 16 Afghan civilians is Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into an incident that has roiled relations with Afghanistan.

American officials had previously said the suspect was a 38-year-old staff sergeant and that he had spent 11 years in the Army. But they had refused to release his name, saying it is military policy to publicly name a suspect only after he has been charged with an offense.

Bales has not yet been charged. He was being flown Friday from Kuwait to a military detention center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: