March 28th, 2012
06:06 PM ET

Grieving survivors describe Afghan massacre

Reporter Yalda Hakim of Australia’s SBS network has become the first western journalist to visit the villages where a U.S. soldier allegedly killed 17 people.

In a remarkable report she talks with some of the survivors and some Afghan guards on duty at the military camp from where Staff Sgt. Robert Bales left on his alleged killing spree.

The video at the top of this story is Hakim’s account of her journey to the remote villages near Kandahar and what she was told.

Bales is now held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The events of that March night in a rural area some 20 kilometers from Kandahar are being investigated by both the U.S. military and Afghan authorities.

But much remains unknown.

Many Afghans, including some of the survivors that night, believe more than one U.S. soldier was present in the two villages where the killings took place. Others speak of seeing a single American soldier leaving Camp Belambai that night.

The U.S. military says there is no evidence that more than one man was involved in the shootings. Bales has not entered a plea.

The killings made headlines around the world.

Here CNN correspondent Sara Sidner explains her thoughts on the massacre victims.

She argued that part of the problem was the risk of traveling around Afghanistan and the lack of communications in remote villages.

But she said it was her impression as a journalist, reader and citizen that victims of tragedies in developing nations are not given anywhere near the same coverage or attention as victims in developed nations by the international press.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • U.S. Army • War • World
soundoff (331 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Lets not forget that some 80 percent of americans approved last invasion of Iraq a nation that had NEVER gone against US needs and had even help in our war against Iran at the cost of some 140 thnusand Iraqi dead and wounded. There is a large body of evidence that Saddams invasion nf Kuwait was approved so that we would have a good enough excuse in worlds eyes to get rid of Saddam and install another and let US and Euro allies take over energy resources. The why of how come so many were in favor not just there but in Afghanistan, Ballans and today in Africa and the Phillipines for crying out loud, can only be excused by disinterest, dont give a d*mn want to kill and be regarded as heros, religgous and national fanaticim, ignorance and or delibnrate ignorance. There seems to be a disconnect in thinking in common between both lib and con and that if a man or woman cannot find a job it is perfectly normal and justifiable to get paid to kill another human.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Russia was invited into Afghanistan by its goverment to help defeat insurgents of various groups. US wrote up a list, called an Al Quida in local lingo,of whom they could use to hand them a Vietnam like defeat. How many Taliban were ever in Afghanistan? What is a Taliban? How many different ethnic groupings, tribal, and what are the diffences in dialects customs and what are Pashtuns other than largest oldest and undiluted curture extant? One thing all those peoples have in common? Whenever one of them is killed by an american soldier they become a Taliban! Not even under the old Taliban assisted goverment did the Afghan peoples were so many slautered and in fear of dying as they are today from our nice kind compassionate. Sorry if I broke your bias bubble of US propaganda that Taliban were Rulers of Afghanistan when we invaded, they were the hired peacekeepers. Strange how it is , those who claim to bring law and order so soon begin to not any better than the last group.

    March 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Smokey

    This guy in one night undid years of work and billions of taxpayer dollars spent. If he had problems why did he not seek help? And/or why did the military not provide resources to help soldiers struggling with their duties? How many Americans died in the attempt to build a stable society in Afghanistan, and one guy who couldn't hack it screws everything up?

    March 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michael

    There are differances between acts of heroism and the fact that what the Guardsman did in saving a chlds life* if in fact such an act occured, millitary propaganda has been known to fib* for the abt war unselfshly done, the reason childs life was indanger was because he was a part of a crimial exercize, the projection of US Millitarys need to pqotect a vast energy pipeline and a need to isolate and surround Iran, China, and Russia. and all this other BS is no more than excuses to be there. The brainwashing that american freedome comes because of our millitary runs deep and has not been true and only one time in ous history was US attacked,WWII, and every other war makeing was by us and much like todays wars of choice against poor and always millitarily weak and the civilan population paid a high cost. The fact that we kill millions with so little losses keeps making war such an attrive occupatiom. Today our troop are in the least danger of harm than any past soldiery.

    March 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greek American

    Good points you make as usual.
    And just so some of you know, there was a trial for Saddam. He was given an attorney and the right to defend himself and his actions.

    March 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • WakeUp

      Do you think Saddam had a fair trial or was he doomed right from the start, don't you think Bush wanted him dead anyway?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Capt Jenks

      Yeah- fair trial. They even got him a new attorney when his first one was murdered. Shining moment when he was handed over to his poltical foes to be hanged. America should be proud. The only moment more heroic was when Ghadaffy was tortured and murdered by American proxies (after a few of his children and grand children had been murdered.)

      And lets not forget to celebrate the seal team six assassins- oh excuse me- "soldiers" who got Osama (and then dumped his body in the ocean like an Italian mafia hit job). So very believable.

      Proud decade for America and its drone warriors.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mali

    Mohammed a Dar. Please please nobody wants here talks about Judaism live alone the Jews. Because the problem of your people is the education what u guys select. Things happen because that's suppose to happen , Allah know and Hashem know ,Good knows why this things happen!!!! U don't know better !!!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Norman

    This is the straw that seems to break the invasion camel's back. It is likely to have dire consequences for the campaign of hearts and minds. Having Northern Alliance members inside/near the US camp against the Pahtuns in Kandahar is like having a red flag before angry bulls.... No wonder there is progressive destabilizing in the country and the Pakistan Taliban are becoming popular among the people.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pharos

      There is no 'progressive destabilization' and the Taliban are NOT popular.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Name*chrissy creel

    Having a USA gun doesn't give this right to kill people never regardless of his case of mental state hr should have spoke up to someone which this is the us @ fought bcuz they have left them over there for so long bring them home damn !

    March 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 111bah

    May allah rest in peace the innocent children and the men and women that were killed while sleeping. Allah is almighty and supreme judge. The punishment for the killer wont be enough in this world, but surely there will be in the hereafter.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ben

    "thou shalt not kill" that one & nine more would really end all wars.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ahmd

    Every wrongs u've throughout is behinded by US gover. That calls itself the police of world, its wrongs is auto. right and its rights is right there,s no any one either inside or outside of Us can say U go wrong way

    March 30, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ahmd

    Every wrongs u've sen throughout the world is behinded by US gover. That calls itself the police of world, its wrongs is auto. right and its rights is right there,s no any one either inside or outside of Us can say U go wrong way

    March 30, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Faraz

    March 30, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Michael

    Everyone seems act like this incident is a singular event when it has thousands of predssorr and some took far more lives. Just as what some marines called combat at Falluga which was in reality was a cold calculated masrsacre of old, young, women and children anything that moved. I lay no blame no one bu the top brasr from Pres on down to there trainers and indoctrinaires and an dumd as rocks and deliberately ignorant public. A news media that war complcit in all ruch and refused to answer and report truth and all the while profiting while doing so. Not news but propaganda outlets. I cannot blane those who were questiong and try as they might were clubed attemting to, but I do question the millins who sat on their butts doing nothing but cheering om the clubs. There has to be genetic defects in mort males in southern states and maybe it is from a00 hundred yrs of inbreeing or never gaving heard that manlind is supposed to advance not stopped in 1866.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. hank hill


    March 30, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
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