Fri March 16, 2012
Soldier Accused Of Massacre 'Just Snapped,' Official Says
We're learning more about the U.S. Army staff sergeant accused in Sunday's massacre of 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children:
-- "When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues — he just snapped," a "senior American official" tells The New York Times.
-- The 38-year-old soldier's Seattle-based defense attorney "says the possibility that his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by injuries and multiple combat deployments will be foremost among the issues his team will explore," The Seattle Times writes.
-- Attorney John Henry Browne, who has spoken to his client by telephone, also said the soldier (who has not been identified) had a day before seen a friend get a leg blown off near their base in southern Afghanistan, NPR's Martin Kaste tells our Newscast Desk.
-- And Browne said the soldier was unhappy about being deployed to a combat zone for the fourth time.
The soldier was moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait earlier this week — a decision that has angered Afghan officials. According to the Times, he may be moved again — to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas — as soon as today.
In other news from Afghanistan:
-- "A Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house near the Afghan capital Friday, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and two girls on the ground, Turkish and Afghan officials said. ... There was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash, NATO said." (The Associated Press)
-- The massacre and recent burnings of some Qurans by U.S. military personnel in what American officials say was a mistake as they disposed of some materials, have stalled talks with the Taliban, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reported on Morning Edition.