The killing of 16 Afghan civilians last Sunday is now one of the greatest points of tension between the United States and Afghanistan. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly killed the civilians in cold blood; those close to him say they were shocked by the news.
According to the Pentagon, Bales had been treated for a traumatic brain injury that he suffered in Iraq in 2010, though the extent of the damage is unclear.
Then-Capt. Brent Clemmer said Staff Sgt. Robert Bales distinguished himself as a team leader in Clemmer's C Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment during the Battle of Zarqa, Iraq. The faces of the rest of Bales' squad have been obscured.
There is still only sketchy information available about Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' recent experience in Afghanistan, but five years ago in Iraq, he was considered an excellent and upbeat soldier.
Bales is suspected of killing 16 unarmed Afghan civilians last Sunday. He has yet to be charged, and his civilian lawyers say they will meet with him at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to learn the facts of the case.
Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 4:45 am
Bales joined the military after Sept. 11, 2001. He served three times in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan.
Credit Courtesy Maj. Brent Clemmer
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' commanding officer once recommended him for a medal of valor after a major battle in Iraq.
Bales was named on Friday as the U.S. soldier who allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians last Sunday. "I was shocked that it was him," Maj. Brent Clemmer told Austin Jenkins of the Public Radio Northwest News Network. "I am still in shock about it."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States on Friday, saying he is at the "the end of the rope" because of the lack of U.S. cooperation into a probe of a killing spree allegedly carried out by an American soldier.
The tension between the United States and Afghanistan has reached a boiling point.
More details are emerging about Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 unarmed Afghans this past week, and there is still anger over the accidental burning of copies of the Quran by soldiers on a military base.