The Kandahar massacre, more precisely identified as the Panjwai massacre, occurred in the early hours of 11 March 2012, when United States Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales murdered sixteen civilians and wounded six others in the Panjwayi District of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Nine of his victims were children, and eleven of the dead were from the same family. Some of the corpses were partially burned. Bales was taken into custody later that morning when he told authorities, "I did it". On 23 August 2013, a jury at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Fort Lewis, Washington sentenced him to life in prison without parole.
American and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) authorities apologized for the deaths. Afghan authorities condemned the act, describing it as "intentional murder". The National Assembly of Afghanistan passed a resolution demanding a public trial in Afghanistan, but then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the soldier would be tried under U.S. military law. Bales pleaded guilty on 5 June 2013 to 16 counts of premeditated murder in exchange for the prosecution not seeking the death penalty. At the time of the plea, he stated that he did not know why he committed the murders.
United States authorities concluded that the killings were the act of a single individual. On 15 March 2012, an Afghan parliamentary probe team made up of several members of the National Assembly of Afghanistan had speculated that up to 20 American soldiers were involved in the killings. The team later said they could not confirm claims that multiple soldiers took part in the killings.