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U.S. Soldier Convicted of Afghan Massacre Had History of Violence, Report Reveals

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Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the American soldier serving a life sentence after being convicted of murdering 16 Afghan villagers in 2012, had exhibited violence before the alleged war crime, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The report, led by Maj. Gen. of the U.S. Army Ricky L. Waddell, said Bales had punched an Afghan truck driver and displayed erratic behavior due to steroid use in two separate incidents, roughly one month before Bales shot to death 16 villagers in March 2012. Neither incident was reported to authorities on the remote military base, the report said.

Investigators concluded that the command climate at the base suffered from “low standards of personal conduct and discipline,” but added that Bales’ behavior did not suggest he would “commit the extremely violent acts,” according to the report.

Several media organizations have unsuccessfully attempted to gain access to the report since it was completed in June 2012 through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Authorities had previously rejected the requests due to the case’s ongoing nature.

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