A number of US soldiers are seen in a village in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. (File photo)
A senior US official has reportedly said those behind the recent massacre of civilians in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar will not stand trial in Afghanistan.
"I think it's pretty much been decided the case is going to be in the States," AFP quoted the unnamed US official in Kabul as saying on Friday.
The remark comes after the main suspect in the mass killing, 38-year-old US Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, was sent to prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, despite calls by the furious families of the victims for the proceedings to be held in Afghanistan.
Bales is the only American officer that has so far been accused of involvement in the massacre by US authorities. He is to be formally charged and tried with 17 counts of murder plus six counts of assault and attempted murder.
Witnesses as well as an Afghan fact-finding mission say up to 20 soldiers were involved in the slaughter of the civilians, believed to be the deadliest by US-led soldiers during the decade-long occupation of Afghanistan.
Woman and children sleeping in their homes were the main victims of the overnight massacre that occurred on March 11 in two villages in Kandahar’s Panjwaii district. Some of the victims' bodies were burnt by the US soldiers.
The murderous act has sparked deadly protests in Afghanistan and heavily strained relations between Washington and Kabul.