Afghan official: U.S. impeded Bales investigation

(CBS News) KABUL - The U.S. and Afghan relationship has been strained in recent months, most notably by the recent massacre of 17 Afghan civilians.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales will be tried by the military for those murders in the U.S. CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports that a top Afghan official has a big problem with that.

General Sher Mohammed Karimi is the chief Afghan investigator in the Bales case, but says he's never been allowed to even speak with the accused.

"This is all I wanted, to be able to just ask him who you are, why you did it, and what were the weapons that you used, you know what was the reason of killing children and women?" Karimi said.

The U.S. military flew Bales out of Afghanistan without consulting General Karimi. American soldiers are under the legal jurisdiction of the U.S. government, but still Karimi is frustrated.

"Everybody tried to, you know,say 'I'm sorry. I have no information. I'm sorry. It's not my case. I'm sorry this is not under my jurisdiction.' And things like that," Karimi said.

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Karimi clarified that he does not believe the military was intentionally stonewalling him.

"Initially I thought they were avoiding me. Later they told me that this is our rules, when somebody is accused of something he is authorized to have a lawyer and he has no obligation to talk to anybody, but this is not convincing to my people," Karimi said.

They're also not convinced Bales will face justice in the United States, especially when Bales' lawyer has already said there's no forensic evidence to convict his client.

General Karimi told CBS News that he is now concerned the evidence at the crime scene has been compromised.

"People went there, walked around it saw their sights, so it is difficult to distinguish between the footmarks of the killer or the person involved, or other peoples who have walked the area," Karimi said.

What evidence has been collected is contradictory. Some eyewitnesses in the village said they saw more than one shooter. The Afghan guards at the base insist they only saw Bales.

"There will be some doubts, and I can say that one person may be able to do these things. But look at those distances, this enemy area, and killing 17 people all in different houses, it brings some doubts," Karimi said.

What's so damaging about this case is the widening versions between the American and Afghan version of that night.

Even if he's found guilty, people in Afghanistan won't feel justice has been served.

  • Charlie D'Agata

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