Washington-- A US official says Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged with 17 counts of murder in the massacre of Afghan villagers.
The official says charges against Bales also include six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault and other violations of military law. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been announced.
The 38-year-old soldier allegedly gunned down nine Afghan children and eight adults as they slept in their homes in two southern villages.
According to CNN, the charges are expected to be announced on Friday. Bales was flown out of Afghanistan last week and is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The civilian deaths, which included women and children, strained already-tense U.S.-Afghan relations and intensified a debate about whether to pull American troops ahead of their planned 2014 withdrawal.
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