The American soldier accused of massacring Afghan villagers is to be charged with 17 counts of murder, it emerged last night.
Staff Sgt Robert Bales also faces six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault, as well as dereliction of duty, an official said on condition of anonymity because charges had not been announced.
Bales, a 38-year-old father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington state, is accused of going on a shooting rampage in two villages in Afghanistan on 11 March, gunning down nine children and eight adults and burning some bodies.
The charges are to be read to Bales on Friday. He is being held in a prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and faces trial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He was on his fourth tour of duty.