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. Pepe

    Will he be extradited to Afghanistan?

    March 29, 2012 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Adam

    Is it more evil to pretend to be a friend yet kills your brothers and sisters when no one's looking or be upfront about it and let it be known you're out to kill? That's a comparison of the US military vs the Taliban.

    This man did not do this alone!!! Him not remembering the details of that night is all too convenient. All the witnesses (even the children) talk very frankly about how "they" were shooting them. The story makes sense. Bales' friend gets his leg blown off. He warns there will be payback. A couple of days later, he carries them out with the help of his buddies and God knows how many higher ups! This is extremely sad. I was sad to see the lives we have ruined. All these people have lives to live like you and I. And they already suffer enough being poor in the middle of war. And then, I expected the comments in here to be outraged against the US military. But instead, I see comments about this being revenge for 911. I thought we were supposed to be better than Al Quaeda or the Taliban? In a few weeks from now, someone's gonna blow this coverup.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cricket

    This is a tragic story, I can't imagine what would put a man in the state of mind to be able to commit such a crime. I however haven't walked on water and am not here to judge. I have NO idea what war is like; and neither do civillians who have never been to war, never had to kill or be killed, never been ordered to send soldiers to a place knowing they probably wouldn't come back. Our soldiers are being broken, deployment after deployment. Years without their families, spending YEARS in hostile countries witnessing things that no person should. So before you stand and judge, remember that you have no idea what he's been through. What he did was horrible, there's no question about that. Rest assured he will answer for his crimes, but unil you've walked for a while in his shoes please don't presume to know where he's been.

    March 29, 2012 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. master flash

    how do you convict a man with no evidence?

    March 29, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • kkk

      then why they your government convict Saddam Hussin without evidence, so it's even now moron

      March 29, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. krehator

    Focused on the negatives, as usual.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. wilypagan

    Hadda "murdering pig", really? I don't know what backwater you are from, but here in the US, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. You and those like you who foment civil strife are the ones who who should be ashamed.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • rameez

      @wilypagan really? innocent until proven guilty wish you guys would apply the same law to nationals of other countries as well or is it a right reserved exclusively for americans ?For all the rest of us it is missile strike unless proven innocent before that missile hits. After watching the video about what this soldiers and possibly the rest of his squad mates did only you would be arrogant enough to defend him .I hope he burns in hell with all of his supporters

      March 29, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      If that is the case then Osama was not proven guilty either you moron

      March 29, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      UA pig skin soldiers kill lots of people and none are proven guilty

      March 29, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hound

    Mark my words,this act of stupid,irrational ,racist hatred by a bunch of burger flipping rascals will be avenged .Your obsolete brains,lack of world travel and an obese centric diet makes you unworthy of traveling out of the United States, for ,where ever you go, you are either considered stupid or arrogant.No one will win in afghanistan, or has ever.Like the Russians, the Afghans will bleed you out, sabotage the trans afghan oil pipeline you plan to build and eventually you will retreat, like in Vietnam, claiming victory.The cry of many an innocent is upon your hands, not your governments, for you elect them.It woud also be extremely asinine tio beleive that poor afghans had the capability to infiltrate and bomb american buildings and uignore the thermite controlled demolition of defence contractors and a missile hit on the pentagon.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • RangerDOS

      Are you a Jet Blue Pilot?

      March 29, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Z_2k

      Tell us how you REALLY feel, Hound. You bark against the USA like the dog you are.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. master flash

    Saddam needed to die. he was a very bad man that killed thousands of people. plenty of evidence there...

    March 29, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. RangerDOS

    Wow, most of you trolls need to get back on your medications

    March 29, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. MayaPinion

    What in the world does this mean? Part of what problem? "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." What does this have to do with the heinous murders? Is this reporter so clueless tht she cannot focus on the topic?

    March 29, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    I think we should hand him to the Afghans and let him decide his guilt. He didn't kill Americans so we shouldn't waste our tax dollars on prosecuting him. Let them if they want justice.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. prisha

    It is so painful to watch. i cannot believe we have become this. please Mr. President bring back our troops home. Let afghans decide their own fate and destiny. please stop playing god. i have no love lost on afghanis but this a tragedy at many levels. Afghhanistan will never be controlled by anyone so why try, let them leave to their lives. we are not keepers of any nation. let us focus on our nation and people.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Z_2k

    "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."

    Only one Afghan guard at Camp Belambai reported seeing Bales leave. That does not mean that others didn't pre-cede, or follow, him. I tend to believe that more than one person was involved in the killing spree, as many of the Afghan villagers believe. But it's interesting that no access to the village was granted (or even sought ?). No shell casings collected. No bodies examined. No foresnics collected. NO EVIDENCE. Bales can not be confirmed at the scene of the crime(s) by anyone. NO EVIDENCE. Was Bales' weapon examined for being fired recently. NO EVIDENCE. Bales will not be convicted....NO EVIDENCE.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. artourr

    RE: Terrorism alert: KGB total brainwashing technique

    US Ministry of Defense provides automatic guns and weapons to thousands of potential terrorists who can commit the same or similar crime as during this Kandahar massacre of civilians in Afghanistan or during the Fort Hood (Texas) shooting where on November 5, 2009 a single gunman killed 13 people and wounded 29 others. Why is it so? This is because some part of Russian KGB uses a brainwashing technique that requires only a few hours and leads to total mind control. After GULAG KGB brainwashing, such military personnel people can take guns and kill many others and themselves.

    I repeat this brainwashing technique requires only a few hours of intimacy for total mind control (so that there is no confusion). This can be easily achieved due to, for example, prevalent promiscuity and lack of any public awareness about this method and KGB people who use such brainwashing. Note that such crimes are nearly impossible to prove, since the brainwashed people either kill themselves or, if they survive, will say only those things that were ordered them to say.

    There are obviously some reasons for those KGB bums to make, for example, US soldiers kill civilians in Afghanistan.

    Artour Rakhimov, PhD

    March 29, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Ronnie

      I couldn't stop laughing ....lol

      March 29, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. angel611

    When it said "inside village massacres" I thought the story was about the 18 confirmed massacres by the Afghan Taliban under orders, because of the massacre plural.
    Instead is about one event that may not be true, because US investigators are not allowed at the scene.
    I should have known better, it is CNN after all.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
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