Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the alleged shooter in last week's attacks on Afghan civilians, has been transferred to a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A complicated picture of his life — in the Army and back home near Tacoma, Wash. — is still emerging.
The massacre in Kandahar province was the latest in a string of bad news out of Afghanistan, which may have shifted the dynamic between the Afghan people and the American-led army that has been occupying the country for a decade. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports on President Hamid Karzai's demand that U.S. troops leave Afghanistan's villages and withdraw to larger bases around the country.
Service members are generally screened before, during and after deployment. But the Army lacks reliable diagnostic tools, according to former Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli. He says what the recent attack on Afghan civilians proves is "just how much we don't know."
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.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' commanding officer once recommended him for a medal of valor after a major battle in Iraq. Bales is being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians last week.
It's been a difficult week for U.S. and Afghan relations, with the Afghan president demanding U.S. troops be confined to bases within a year following an alleged shooting spree by a U.S. serviceman that left 16 Afghan civilians dead. The flared tensions could force the Obama administration to rethink its plans for withdrawal.
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