John Henry Browne,
Lawyer: Afghan Suspect Was Upset About Comrade's Injury
March 16, 2012
The civilian lawyer for the U.S.
soldier accused of carrying out a deadly shooting rampage in Afghanistan
says his client was likely suffering from stress after witnessing the
grave injury of one of his fellow soldiers.
Attorney John Henry Browne says the 38-year-old staff sergeant saw one
of his comrades get his leg blown off a day before the massacre of 16
Afghan civilians in Kandahar province.
Browne says his client was also unhappy with his assignment to a fourth
tour of duty in a war zone. The solider had served three tours in Iraq
where he suffered a head injury and lost part of his foot. The lawyer
says the soldier was told he would not be deployed to Afghanistan, but
that changed "literally overnight."
The soldier who has not yet been named or charged, was flown out of
Afghanistan to Kuwait late Wednesday. U.S. Lieutenant General Curtis
Scaparotti, the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the
suspect was moved to ensure "both proper pre-trial confinement and
access to legal services."
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Afghanistan this week and
the killing, allegedly carried out by the U.S. soldier, was the focus of
talks with Afghan officials.
President Hamid Karzai called on NATO forces to pull back from Afghan
villages and relocate their bases in the wake of the incident.
Karzai also told Panetta that everything must be done to prevent
incidents such as the shooting spree in the future. The U.S. defense
secretary said he promised the Afghan president that the gunman would be
brought to justice.
On Friday, U.S. military officials said a top U.S. commander in
Afghanistan was in the path of an attack that coincided with Panetta's
arrival in Afghanistan. They had initially downplayed the incident.
Earlier officials said an Afghan stole a vehicle and drove it onto a
runway ramp. Officials said the driver was aiming for a group of U.S.
soldiers at the airstrip for Panetta's arrival, but crashed into a ditch
before emerging from the vehicle in flames.