Bales Faces 17 Counts of Murder in Afghan Killings

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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is expected to face murder charges Friday in the deaths of 17 Afghan civilians.

The 38-year-old soldier is accused of killing women and children in a shooting rampage two weeks ago in two southern Afghan villages.

Bales faces 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder, and six counts of aggravated assault under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But it could be months before any public hearing.

A resident of Lake Tapps, Wash., the father of two also faces dereliction of duty and a number of other violations of military law.

Bales is being held in a solitary cell in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

His civilian attorney, John Henry Browne, said he wouldn't comment on the charges because he hadn't been provided with a copy of them.

Bales was on his fourth tour of duty in a war zone, having served three tours in Iraq, where he suffered a head injury and a foot injury.

He was assigned to the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Afghan officials have asked the United States to keep them up to date on the case as it proceeds through the military legal system. The Afghans have also urged a fast resolution of the case.

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