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. mark shiro

    and, really, we can always believe what those ugly liars say, right? that's why we allow our soldiers to be tried over there.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. True american

    So tell me when we know this soldier killed 17 people we always say "U.S. soldier allegedly killed 17 people".

    Why Allegedly– Surely this insane soldier killed innocent villagers mostly women and children.

    I am sure in a little while under military trial this soldier will go free.(Insanity or something).

    Offcourse if this soldier was insane then his boss should go to Jail.

    What a mess we have created in afghanistan, Iraq, Libya shame shame shame

    March 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. philyfred

    We're still grieving the Americans we lost Sept. 11th. Not so funny when it's your familes, not in the mood to celebrate and give candy out are you? That sting you feel in your gut is irony, I rejoice in all your sorrow.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      It was not the Afghan people who killed Americans on 911. The terrorists were Saudis.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • capitan

      What?

      March 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • MegaBrite

      philyfred
      Then you are nothing but an animal. Do not call yourself human because you are not.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • panopticon

      You rejoice in the death and suffering of others? You're no less evil than the "enemy."

      Go buy an American flag, lock yourself in a closet with it, and cry yourself to sleep.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rootieboy

      Wow. You are heartless. We are talking about innocent children here.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zak

      You are sick. Whats the difference between you and those who perpetrated 911??

      March 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ak

      That's.... horrible.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Really?........I was not aware that any Afghani's had anything to do with that heinous act at all.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RAY

    sorry for the victims but this is the Taliban at work this is propaganda at work this journalist was used by them

    March 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Herkimer Schwartz

    So much emphasis is put on the survivors of those who were killed by an american soldier. Yet you don't hear a word about the families of those american soldiers who were killed because a Koran got burned. I'm pretty sur they are going through a greiving process also. Is the Afghan government going to compensate these families for their loss ? What is wrong with the priorities here ?

    March 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • sinbad

      Probably because the Afghans don't kill children.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • burhan

      the difference is these soldiers are there. leave the country first.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • esther saraga

      I agree with you. How many american wives, mothers, children are grieving for their fallen spouses, sons and fathers? I am tired of these politically correct people.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • HUH?

      Afghans don't kill children?
      What planet are you from?

      March 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • kalambep

      Any Loss of Innocent Life Be of a Soldier Or a Saint is regrettable and has an enormous impact on their Immediate families.
      It Makes us take pride in our soldiers when they fight for a Just cause, But also makes us ashamed of ourselves when a soldier takes a Assault Weapon and fires on Innocent Children and Women in the Dark.

      What is that in this world which makes you kill Innocent children..Be It Afghan or American..

      March 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • RamanV

      This Sicko will Sure be made to pay for his acts.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Herkimer Schwartz

      @ sinbad
      So I take it you condone the fact they killed the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers of americans, because of the burning of a book ? That makes everything allright, correct ?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Are you kidding me? There's hardly ANY stories on the victims. Nearly all stories on this incident is about the AMERICAN and how hard it must be for his family, etc... You know why this made news? Because CIVILIANS are killed. And they were intentionally killed! WHen's the last time you saw a story about the grieving family of an Afghan SOLDIER? NONE. An American soldier's family get's a lot more coverage. That should be what you're comparing. Don't compare against CIVILIAN deaths!

      March 29, 2012 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. loverpoint

    The only person that knows if there were more than one soldier is Bales- he will be sentenced and probably executed, it is only then that we might hear he true accounts of what went on. The only way it will be determined if there were more than one shooter is by checking the bullets and gun or guns involved

    March 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • burhan

      is there really a chance that he'll be executed? an outrage of this scale deserves nothing more than a painful death

      March 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ABC

    So, where are all the free jornalist, i dont see Nacny Grace running to interview any one, how about cnn or abc ? arnt you interersted in finding the truth ? how come there is no coverage from afghanistan, no interview, no reports no nothing, what happed to unbiased jornalism ? or is it ? really free and unbiased ?
    No profiles of the people killed, no interviews of the family no pictures ?

    March 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lisa

    "Allegedly" because he hasn't been tried and convicted yet.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. repub

    since Osama is killed what are we doing in Afghanistan? if peace and cultural mission only then send pope there, it worked well before

    March 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ABC

    Does it surprice any one that an australian jornalist is first to interview and go to Kandahar to find the fact, while the story is american and no american jornalist trying to cover it, how convenient that the solder does not remember any thing that happed that night but everything else.......

    March 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lisa

    Good points by Tammay.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. repub

    @sinbad: yeah, they marry them (children) instead

    March 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Like It Is

    The killer should be turned over to the local people for justice. Those that sent him there should be sent to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes. The idiots who elected them should commit seppuke.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tex

    The amount of "eye of an eye" arguments on this board are sickening. Did any of have the attention span to actually watch the entire report?? No the US shouldn't be in Afghanistan – But that's not the point of this story. Innocent people – including many, many small children were murdered – Where is your compassion?? These people are caught between foreign forces and the Taliban and have been for decades. Even people in their 30s have known nothing but war their entire lives. They have *nothing*. It's heartbreaking.

    I was taught that evil begets evil. Who raised you!?

    March 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tdog

    sinbad im pretty sure Afghans dont care who they kill and i bet they have killed children to get their way

    March 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
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