Kandahar Mass Murder Plea Bargain Sentencing Hearing, As Tweeted: The Prosecution

This is a record of the second of two evidence hearings in the court-martial of former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales for war crimes in Afghanistan. For context, please see my introduction to this 7-part Storify, linked just below. I recommend viewing this in /slideshow format. -January, 2014


  1. Storify Introduction (Slideshow links: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

  2. Tuesday, August 20, 2013, continued (first Afghan testimony)

  3. Haji Mohammad Naim (shot three times at Ibrahim Khan Houses, Alkozai), as seen in his first video interview (with Afghan reporter Mamoon Durrani) on June 5, 2013:
  4. (The following explanations and photos detour from the live tweets for a moment, to fill in some missing context about the attacks in the Alkozai neighborhood of Haji Mohammad Naim - specifically the attack on the family who lived in a home that closely abutted Haji Mohammad Naim's on the east.)
  5. The testimony cited in that Keith Eldridge tweet, when combined with media interviews of Alkozai victims, indicates that the neighbor to the east of Haji Mohammad Naim's home (the two homes share a wall) may have been attacked before anyone was shot at the Naim home (including his neighbors to the west who fled to Naim's). Naim's November, 2012 Article 32 testimony likewise indicates that Naim saw neighbors from the east (apparently two girls and a woman) come running to his home screaming that Naim's east-side neighbor Haji Nazar Mohammad and Haji Nazar's 2-year-old daughter Tora/Khatima (and an infant son?) had been killed - before Naim saw a soldier with a light on his head jump the wall of his yard and shoot him three times at close range. Just one witness - apparently the same young girl who's been interviewed only by Australia's public broadcaster SBS-TV - has testified (for the defense at the Article 32 hearing) about the murder at their home of her father Haji Nazar Mohammad (and his 2-year-old daughter Tora/Khatima). Although no reporting I've seen indicates that "Noorbinak" was ever publicly questioned about the death of her younger sister Tora, these tweets reveal that the stipulated facts read aloud at this hearing state that Tora/Khatima screamed at the soldier assaulting her father, before she and Haji Nazar Mohammad were both shot and killed. Tora's mother, the eyewitness widow of Haji Nazar Mohammad, has never testified or been interviewed. Samiullah, an adult nephew of Haji Nazar Mohammad, says of his 2-year-old cousin Tora/Khatima (who was reportedly never photographed before her death): "She was precious."  The next tweet includes a photograph of the young girl "Noorbinak" (shot in the leg) who Yalda Hakim interviewed for Australia's DatelineSBS in March, 2012; no one by that name testified at the Article 32 hearing, but the testimony of a young girl named "Robina," who described the murder of her father, seems to match Noorbinak's story as told to DatelineSBS eight months earlier - including the fact that in Noorbinak's/Robina's yard, abutting Haji Mohammad Naim's, there were multiple soldiers ("the others were standing in the yard, holding lights," Noorbinak told Yalda Hakim in March; or as American reporters described Robina's sworn November testimony to the Article 32 hearing by video link, there were “a lot of lights”: “It almost made it like daylight,” she said. “There were too many lights.”):
  6. The next tweet includes a photo taken during the March, 2012 filming of interviews at the Kandahar Airfield NATO hospital, southeast of Kandahar city, with Yalda Hakim (on the right in a green scarf), then of Australia's DatelineSBS program. The five Alkozai wounded first treated at FOB Zangabad - and, apparently, "Noorbinak" too (who was not taken to FOB Zangabad for her leg wound) - were transferred here for further treatment. "Noorbinak" is visible at the end of the table, next to a tribal elder (with the white beard) who's a cousin of her murdered father Haji Nazar Mohammad (the cousin's name is Fazal Mohammad; Fazal's also a cousin of Haji Nazar Mohammad's brother Haji Sayed Jan, from the same Alkozai neighborhood):
  7. (Live tweets of Haji Mohammad Naim's testimony now resume:)