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Bales apologises for Panjwai shooting spree

Bales apologises for Panjwai shooting spree

Aug 23, 2013 - 00:48

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): An American soldier on Thursday tendered an apology for killing 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province last year, regretting the much-denounced shooting as "an act of cowardice".

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has already confessed to shooting dead the villagers, mostly womeninfo-icon and children, inside their houses in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province in March 2012.

At his sentencing hearing, according to US media reports, Bales told a six-member military jury : "Sorry just isn't good enough, but I am sorry. What I did is an act of cowardice."

Linking the shooting spree to his anger and fear, an emotional Bales said: "I'm a mass of fear and bullshit and bravado. I'm truly sorry to those people whose families got taken away."

A decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistaninfo-icon, the 39-year-old told the jury that would determine his fate that he drank a lot and remained furious much of the time.

While taking the stand, the soldier said: "I love the Army. I’ve stood next to some really good guys and some real heroes...In my mind, I saw threats everywhere."

Admitting to the use of steroids during his stay in Afghanistan, Bales said he became mad at trivial things. He suffered from headaches and took sleeping pills. "Normal life became hard."

A day earlier, Afghan survivors of the massacre graphically detailed the rampage before the jury that will decide whether or not the soldier will be eligible for parole after pleading guilty of the civilian deaths.

PAN Monitor/mud

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