Afghan Massacre Survivor: I Saw Up to 20 Soldiers

First Western journalist visits Afghan village where 17 died

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 30, 2012 4:57 AM CDT | Updated Mar 30, 2012 6:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Australia's Yalda Hakim has become the first Western journalist to interview survivors of the massacre that killed 17 Afghan civilians, and their account of events is very different from the US military's. Military officials say that Robert Bales acted alone, but some survivors spoke of seeing up to 20 soldiers, MSNBC reports. One 8-year-old girl says the shooter shot her father before shooting her in the leg while other men were present, holding lights.

A woman whose husband was killed during the incident says there were up to 20 Americans pointing their guns at her. Hakim—who says US investigators tried to prevent her from speaking to child survivors—also spoke to the Afghan general whom President Hamid Karzai has assigned to investigate the killings. He told her that village elders believe several soldiers took part in the massacre, and they found the boot prints of three or four people. Other Afghans, however, say they only saw one soldier leave the base that night, CNN reports.

Afghan villagers pray over the grave of one of the 17 victims killed in the Panjwai rampage.
Afghan villagers pray over the grave of one of the 17 victims killed in the Panjwai rampage.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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Yalda Hakim speaks to survivors of the massacre.   (CNN)

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