Soldier investigated for Afghan killings reportedly suffered brain injury

The bodies of Afghan civilians allegedly shot by a rogue U.S. soldier are pictured in the back of a van in Alkozai village of Panjwayi district, Kandahar province.

While the U.S. military is not identifying the American soldier being investigated in the gunning down of 16 villagers in Afghanistan until charges are filed, military officials say the man had suffered a traumatic brain injury.

The soldier, who is accused of killing the villagers — including nine children and three women — is a trained sniper from Fort Lewis, Washington, according to the Daily Mail. The soldier has been in the Army for 11 years, serving three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

A military official said the brain injury might have been caused by a car accident or from hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle. He took and passed a mental health screening in 2008. The staff sergeant is married with children, but may have been going through marital problems when he opened fire in the homes of three Afghan families.

Officials say the soldier left his base in Kandahar at 3 a.m. wearing night-vision goggles. That’s when, they say, he entered the three homes and began shooting. Family members of the victims claim the soldier also poured chemicals over their corpses before setting them on fire. He then turned himself in at his base. He is now in pretrial confinement as Army officials investigate.

“He was walking around taking up positions in the house — in two or three places like he was searching,” said Mohammad Zahir, a 26-year-old villager who said the soldier wounded his father. “He was on his knees when he shot my father in the thigh.”

The incident has sparked outrage as Afghans call for the immediate removal of American troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban claims more than one soldier is responsible and has vowed revenge, calling the killings “blood-soaked and inhumane crime” by “sick-minded American savages” on its website.

U.S. officials say their exit strategy will not be affected by the killings.

“The focus of our overall strategy is not in reaction to a single event,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“I do not believe that this incident will change the timetable of a strategy that was designed and is being implemented in a way to allow for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, to allow for the transfer of lead security authority over to the Afghans,” Carney said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.