Robert Bales, Staff Sergeant alleged to have killed 16 Afghan civilians — including nine women and three children — to death may be charged within a week, according to reports.
Even as the incident rocked U.S.-Afghan relations and inflamed passions in a country already stinging from last month's Koran-burning episode, Afghan President Hamid Karzai questioned the theory that Bales acted alone.
The U.S. army pulled Bales off Afghan soil last week and, after a brief stopover in Kuwait, brought him back to a prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
While he is held in solitary confinement there, he may have the opportunity to meet his family, who were moved out of their home in Lake Tapps near the Tacoma area of Washington State for safety.
His family was said to be “stunned in the face of this tragedy, but they stand behind the man they know as a devoted husband, father and dedicated member of the armed services,” according to attorney Emma Scanlan.
Meanwhile, the Guardian quoted a legal expert with the U.S. military saying charges against Bales “are expected to be filed within a week, and any trial would be held in the U.S.”
The news on Bales' trial came as U.S.-Afghan relations appeared to suffer from a widening trust deficit and Mr. Karzai was quoted saying to a group of journalists, “In four rooms people were killed, children and women were killed, and then they were all brought together in one room and then put on fire; that one man cannot do.”