U.S. Army soldier pleads guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians

Posted Jun 5, 2013 by Eric Morales
An American soldier pleads guilty to an attack on Afghan civilians that halted military operations, and led to the Taliban calling off peace talks.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales
U.S. Army / Ryan Hallock
An American soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians has pleaded guilty on Wednesday according to The Guardian. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty to the murder charges in a military court room as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty.
Bales admitted to killing the Afghan civilians, most of whom were women and children and burning their bodies in two remote villages near the southern base in Afghanistan where he was posted during United States' War On Terror.
Prosecutors accused Bales of slipping out of his camp based in Kandahar province in the middle of the night. Armed with a 9 mm handgun and an M-4 rifle equipped with a grenade launcher.
He attacked one village in Alkozai before returning to Camp Belambay and telling a fellow soldier about his massacre. The U.S. soldier thought he was joking and went back to sleep, Bales returned to the darkness of Kandahar province and attacked a second village, Najiban.
"We are children! We are children!" Children on video testified of begging for their lives as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales massacred their village.
A young girl testified of hiding behind her father as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales shot him to death. A Muslim man gave testimony last fall via video that Robert Bales stood at close range and shot him in the neck.
Defense Attorneys for Bales said the middle aged soldier was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, and he was on his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan. Further complicating matters Bales was drinking smuggled in alcohol and snorting Valium that he got from fellow soldiers.
Attorney John Browne said his client, a father of two children, was "crazed" and "broken" but not legally insane when he carried out the horrendous murders. Browne has also claimed that Robert Bales was upset that a comrade of his had lost a leg in a March 9, 2012 bombing. Forty-eight hours later Bales would go on to commit over a dozen murders.
A military judge must still decide if Bales plea of guilty will be accepted.
The victims of Robert Bales are: Mohammed Dawood, Khudaydad (son of Mohammed Juma), Nazar Mohammed, Payendo, Robeena, Shatarina, Zahra, and Nazia. Also six children born to Mohammed Wazir were also killed, Masooma, Farida, Palwasha, and Nabia, all girls as well as their brothers Esmatullah 16-years-old, and 9-year-old Faizullah. Also killed were Essa Mohammed and Akthar Mohammed. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales also wounded Haji Mohamed Naim, Mohamed Sediq, Parween, Rafiullah, Zardana, and Zulheja.