The top U.S. commander for Afghanistan told lawmakers on Tuesday that an investigation is under way into the command climate surrounding the sergeant accused in the shooting massacre of 16 Afghan civilians. This is separate from the criminal investigation into the killings, allegedly committed by Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.
Gen. John Allen, in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, revealed the investigation will look into the command and control process, how and why Bales was assigned to the Special Operations Village stability mission and what the combat relationships were within that unit.
It's expected the investigation will also look into the presence of alcohol on that small outpost in southern Afghanistan and whether there was a breakdown in command leadership in that unit.
Because of the criminal investigation under way, Allen offered no additional information on the suspect, other than to repeat that the U.S. military is committed to seeking justice in the case.
Bales, 38, of Lake Tapps, Wash., has not been charged yet in the March 11 shooting spree. He was deployed to Afghanistan in December.
U.S. military officials said they still expect him to be charged later this week. The charges will be released by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, they said.
NBC News Pentagon Producer Courtney Kube contributed to this report.
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