As military officials investigate the killing of 17 Afghan villagers, they are closely examining the command climate and other potential contributing factors, not just the actions of the Army staff sergeant who has been charged with the crime, according to a report in Stars and Stripes.
“Repeated tours in Afghanistan, and prior to that, in Iraq, don’t inherently reduce the effectiveness of the force or reduce the effectiveness of small-unit leadership,” Marine Gen. John Allen said. “I’m confident the institution is solid.”
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is charged with 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of assault on Afghan civilians. Allen said investigators in the Bales case will look at factors that may have contributed to the massacre.
“We’re investigating this very thoroughly,” he told Stars and Stripes.
Allen also addressed the recent increased violence against U.S. and coalition troops, including an incident Monday in which an Afghan soldier killed two British troops in the southern Helmand province. He said the attacks are primarily carried out by rebellious Afghan security forces, not disguised Taliban.
So far this year, 15 foreign troops have been killed by Afghan partners, nearly one-fourth of total combat deaths.
You can read the full Stars and Stripes article HERE.