Soldier Admits Afghan Massacre, Describes Killings

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) - The American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year says he has asked himself many times why he did what he did - and come up with no answer.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to multiple murder charges Wednesday to avoid the death penalty.

He then described the attacks for a military judge, saying he shot each victim.

The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, asked Bales why he committed the March 2012 killings at two villages near the remote base in southern Afghanistan where he was posted.

Bales responded that he's asked himself that "a million times."

He added: "There's not a good reason in this world for why I did the horrible things I did."

Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were burned.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) - The American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year has begun describing the attacks, explaining to a judge that he shot each victim.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to multiple murder charges Wednesday in a military courtroom to avoid the death penalty.

He later read from a statement in a clear and steady voice, describing his actions for each killing in the same terms.

Bales says he left the remote base where he was posted in southern Afghanistan and went to the nearby villages of mud-walled compounds. Once inside, he says he "formed the intent" of killing the victims, then shot each one.

Bales told the judge: "This act was without legal justification, sir."


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