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U.S. Soldier Pleads Guilty To Killing 16 Afghan Villagers

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (right) at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California in August 2011.
The U.S. soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians in a nighttime raid has pleaded guilty in a military courtroom.

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales entered his guilty plea before a military tribunal at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state on June 5.

Asked by the judge why he killed the Afghans, Bales replied "There's not a good reason in the world for why I did the horrible things I did."

Bales, 39, is accused of 16 counts of murder, six of attempted murder, and seven of assault over the massacre in southern Afghanistan in March 2012.

Seventeen of the 22 killed or injured were women or children.

Bales' lawyer indicated last week he would plead guilty to avoid facing the death sentence.

Some Afghan family members of the victims have demanded that Bales be executed.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP