KABUL – Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai says the life sentence handed to a U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians will not “bring back our children.”
Karzai’s remarks came at a news conference Saturday, the day after a military jury sentenced Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 40, to life in prison without the possibility of release.
It was the most severe punishment possible. Many Afghans had wanted him to receive the death penalty.
“A life sentence to him or a death sentence to him will not bring back our children that he killed,” Karzai said.
Bales pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty for his March 11, 2012, raids near his outpost in southern Afghanistan, in which he shot 22 people – 17 of them women and children.