Afghan My Lai — Robert Bales was not alone

That is according to Afghan child witnesses interviewed by Yalda Hakim for Australia’s SBS Dateline. (h/t Shaheen)

Hakim, who was born in Afghanistan and immigrated to Australia as a child, is the first international journalist to interview the surviving witnesses. She said American investigators tried to prevent her from interviewing the children, saying her questions could traumatize them. She said she appealed to village leaders, who arranged for her to interview the witnesses.

Noorbinak, 8, told Hakim that the shooter first shot her father’s dog. Then, Noorbinak said in the video, he shot her father in the foot and dragged her mother by the hair. When her father started screaming, he shot her father, the child says. Then he turned the gun on Noorbinak and shot her in the leg.

“One man entered the room and the others were standing in the yard, holding lights,” Noorbinak said in the video.

A brother of one victim told Hakim that his brother’s children mentioned more than one soldier wearing a headlamp. They also had lights at the end of their guns, he said.

“They don’t know whether there were 15 or 20, however many there were,” he said in the video. […]

Gen. Karimi, assigned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to investigate the murders, told Hakim that he, too, wonders whether Bales acted alone and how he could left the base without notice.

“Village elders said several soldiers took part and that there is boot prints in the area,” Karimi told Hakim. He said villagers told him that they saw three or four individuals kneeling and that helicopters were overhead during the rampage.

“To search for him?” Karimi said he asked them.

“No,” he said they told him. “They were there from the very beginning.”

7 thoughts on “Afghan My Lai — Robert Bales was not alone”

  1. does it really matter whether one or more people were involved in the murders?
    will it make confused if not permanently diseased mentalities feel that the innocent dead will smile in the hereafter if more than one soldier murdered them?
    how many have been murdered before this and how many will be murdered after this,while we look for individual or group criminals and allow the political, economic, systemic mass murders to continue as we find war them guilty and allow war itself to thrive?

  2. Since this happened the witness statements, which have been repeated and clear in what they’ve said, have been ignored. The idea that one man did this seems bizarre to me. One man, special forces or otherwise, does not wander around Afghanistan drunk. Especially in the traditional Taliban strongholds where this happened. To kill 16-17 (?) over two or three locations alone, pile and burn bodies and return to your barracks without being challenged or stopped is unlikely in rural England, let alone Southern Afghanistan. The male population and virtually every household – as I was briefed before I ‘served’ there – is armed.

    Moreover, I think we have to put this in context. There are forty raids per night in Afghanistan, many of them lead to killings. This only difference here is that it seems to have been an ‘unsanctioned’ raid. This is not Afghanistan’s My Lai moment, but the latest chapter in a 10yr long My Lai moment.

  3. frank : does it really matter whether one or more people were involved in the murders?

    Yes it matters. Why should there be only one murderer punished ?

    1. so it’s proper punishment that is the issue here…ohhh…
      a civil rights or social justice issue…

      will we be properly punishing the people responsible for training these killers and sending them to foreign countries to do our killing while we go to work, take classes, sip lattes ,write blogs or text and twit our outrage that they are killing people?

      that said and assuming there really is some logic in vindictive selectivity, why would this person being held – and defended by many – be so silent about the other ten or twenty or fifty or three hundred or however many who accompanied him in his crime?

      does that make him a heroic warrior who protects his brother (and sometimes sister) warriors?

      people were murdered and have been murdered in much greater numbers and for many years…proper punishment should involve social revolution before individual or group scapegoat seeking…a conviction of one or one hundred in this case will neither bring back the dead nor create justice in a nation we have ravaged for more years than many are aware…

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