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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs