News

    Afghan Massacre Families Paid Compensation

    Afghan authorities say the United States has paid tens of thousands of dollars to the families of victims killed in a shooting rampage allegedly by an American soldier.

    Kandahar provincial council member Haji Agha Lali Dastageri told VOA Afghan Service Sunday that authorities paid the compensation a day earlier during a ceremony in the governor's office. Relatives of the victims received $50,000 per person killed and $11,000 per person wounded in the March 11 shooting rampage in Panjwai district of Kandahar province.

    Dastageri said that the victims' families had requested that media not be present for the ceremony because of possible insurgent threats.

    A spokesman for NATO forces in Afghanistan declined to confirm or deny the payments, saying that while coalition members often make compensation payments, they usually are confidential.

    By Afghan tradition, those responsible for someone's death must pay the victim's family compensation to make amends. Earlier, an investigating Afghan delegation had paid each family a smaller sum in compensation.

    On Friday, U.S. authorities investigating the killings charged Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales with 17 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder.

    Bales, an 11-year military veteran, is alleged to have walked out of his southern Afghanistan military post under the cover of darkness and gunned down nine children and eight adults.

    The New York Times quoted an unnamed U.S. official Sunday as saying investigators believe Bales left his base twice on March 11, allegedly carrying out the shootings in two villages in separate operations. It was after his return from the second outing that Bales surrendered to authorities.

    Bales' civilian lawyer, John Henry Browne, has admitted that his client had something to drink before the shooting spree, despite a military alcohol ban, but insists his client has no memory of the night and was likely suffering from combat stress.

    Bales, who served three tours of duty in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan last December, suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2010. A day before the massacre, he witnessed one of his fellow soldiers get his leg blown off.

    News reports have emerged that Bales has had past brushes with the law in the U.S. involving alcohol. He also is reportedly facing financial troubles at home, and had a $1.5 million securities fraud judgement issued against him several years ago.

    Bales could face the death penalty for his shooting rampage. The U.S. military has not executed a service member in five decades.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora