Report: Second shooter suspected in Afghan massacre

The distances between the two villages where Bales allegedly carried out the shootings was too far for one person to have traveled in the amount of time the attacks reportedly took place, Afghan police Major Khudai Dad said Sunday. 

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"One person did not have the courage to go to the villages in the dark of night," Dad, who heads up the chief investigative arm of the Afghan police, told jurors during Bales' court martial hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

Further, a single shooter could not have attacked the villages of Alkozai and Najiban in southern Afghanistan, which are miles apart, over a five-hour period, much less return to base to get more ammunition in between attacks, according to Dad. 

"There's no way it is one person ... one person cannot do this work," he said via teleconference from Afghanistan, according to Reuters. 

While several witness accounts claim there was more than one shooter that evening on March 11, Dad is the first official to publicly contradict in open court the military's case that Bales was the only attacker involved. 

One witness told military investigators that she saw one gunman, presumably Bales, enter their home while a second unknown suspect stood guard at the door, Reuters reports. However the witness declined to testify during Bales' hearing. 

Dad's allegations capped an intense seven days of testimony, in which U.S. officials and Afghan witnesses laid out the harrowing  details of the shooting rampage. 

During the court martial, military investigators provided physical evidence, including blood samples, tying Bales to the shootings in both villages. 

Other Afghan eyewitnesses, testifying via satellite from the U.S. air base in Kandahar, identified Bales as the shooter.  

The Army officially charged Bales in March with 17 counts of murder as a result of the shootings. 

Aside from the murder counts, Bales was also charged with six counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault in the wounding of six other villagers during the incident, as well as dereliction of duty.

Bales’s attorney, John Henry Browne, claims his client suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, suffered during his multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

At the time of the shootings, the 38-year old Iraqi war veteran had been in Afghanistan since December on his fourth combat tour in 10 years. He is currently being housed in the military’s maximum-security facility at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.

The incident prompted those inside the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill to revisit the issue of PTSD and the overall state of the U.S. military, whose members have been engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade.