- (Photo: Reuters/Department of Defense/Spc. Ryan Hallock/Handout)
Afghan shooting suspect Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged with 17 counts of murder, assault and other offenses when he stands in front of a judge today. The Taliban, meanwhile, has expressed its fears of injustice in Bales' trial.
It is still unknown why Bales went door-to-door in the Afghan province of Panjawal and shot 17 people, including nine children. His civilian attorney, John Henry Browne, has stated that Bales was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and grief brought on by seeing a friend shot in combat as well as a traumatic brain injury.
"I'm not putting the war on trial," Browne told reporters, "but the war is on trial. If I can help create a discussion about the war, that would be a great way for me to go out."
Bales was transported from Afghanistan, where he turned himself in to authorities after the shootings, to a military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He has not yet spoken about his actions, but his wife, Karilyn, says they are "completely out of character of the man I know and admire."
Meanwhile, the Taliban has expressed fear that the Afghan families affected by Bales' actions will not receive justice. The group has suspended talks with the United States as a result of growing tension.
In a new statement, the Taliban said that the burning of holy Korans and loss of innocent lives had ruined the "atmosphere for negotiations."
"This was a planned activity, and we will certainly take revenge on all American forces in Afghanistan and don't trust such trials," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters. "Now America tries to deceive the people and tries to blame the act on one soldier. This is a crime by the American government. Using such cleverness and deception is a huge crime."