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U.S. Army Seeks Death Penalty For Soldier Over Afghan Killings

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (left) at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, in August 2011
Military prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in southern Afghanistan in March.

Robert Bales faces 16 counts, including charges of premeditated murder, over the killings.

Prosecutors say the 39-year-old soldier left his base in Kandahar Province on March 11 to commit the killings.

Nine of his victims were children.

No date has been set for his court-martial.

There was no immediate comment from Bales' lawyers to the announcement on December 19.

But his defense team has argued that outside experts needed to determine whether Bales, who served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The March killings drew such angry protests that the U.S. military temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP