Friday 16 March 2012,
WASHINGTON: The US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians had been drinking at the time of the shootings and was suffering stress linked to his fourth combat deployment, a report said late Thursday.
The staff sergeant had also been experiencing "tensions" with his wife when he allegedly left his base in southern Kandahar province before dawn Sunday and went on to kill 16 people, many of them children, in two neighboring villages, an unnamed US official told The New York Times.
"When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues – he just snapped," the official told the Times.
The soldier was flown to Kuwait on Wednesday because officials said the US military did not have a suitable detention facility in Afghanistan to hold him.
The Times report said the soldier would likely be moved again from Kuwait to the United States as early as Friday.
No official statement has disclosed the soldier's motivation or mental state three days after the incident, which has plunged US-Afghan relations to a new low and raised broader questions about the US strategy there.
Questions will likely emerge about the soldier's "emotional and mental stability for a fourth deployment" after his three previous tours in Iraq, the unnamed official told the Times.
The soldier has not been identified, but is described as a 38-year-old married father of two. The report said he enlisted in the US army in 2001