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Victims testify against Sgt. Bales accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, is seen in this undated photo. Bales is accused in the massacre of Afghan villagers on March 11, 2012.
November 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The horror of a massacre of Afghan civilians at the hands of a US soldier was retold in a Washington state military courtroom Friday.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly gunned down nine Afghan children, four men and four women as they slept on March 11. The father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington, is charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder in connection with the massacre.

Appearing over a live video link, Afghans retold a military courtroom outside Seattle what they saw, including a man who talked about finding his relatives piled together and lit on fire.

"I have seen each individual and took them out by myself, said Khamil Adin who found the pile of bodies the morning after the rampage. "Everybody was shot on the head. I didn't pay attention to the rest of the wounds."

A young boy also described being awakened by screams than an American had "killed our men." He recalled ducking behind a curtain with his friend. A bullet grazed his head and fractured his skill. His friend was shot in the thigh.

Meanwhile, in different parts of the house, children scrambled yelling "We are children! We are children!"

Charges filed against Bales claim he split the killings in the villages of Balandi and Alkozai into two episodes, attacking one village, returning to the base and then slipping out again to raid another an hour later.

A fellow soldier testified that Bales woke him up in the middle of the night in between his attacks and told him of the killings and that he was out to kill more. The soldier, however, didn't believe Bales and fell back asleep.

An Afghan National Army guard recounted seeing an unidentified soldier laughing as he left the base.

Bales' attorney has said he suffered a concussive head injury while serving in Iraq and doesn't remember anything between the time he left the base and the time he returned.

The shooting rampage was the worst allegation of civilian killings by an American.

Bales could face the death penalty if convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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