WASHINGTON - US officials Friday identified the soldier accused of killing 16 civilians, including women and children, in Afghanistan as Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.

Media reports Friday cited US officials, whose names were not reported, as saying Bales, 38, was flown from Kuwait to a US military detention centre at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the families of the people killed by the US soldier he distrusts the US military’s version of what happened. Karzai said the killing spree has pushed US-Afghan relations to “the end of the rope,” CNN reported. He said US officials appeared to be withholding information.

Bales reportedly left an outpost in Kandahar province, Camp Belambay, and shot nine children, three women and four men in nearby villages Sunday.

“We tried to talk to the soldier involved, but there was no cooperation from America,” Karzai told the families. “Based on what you are saying, the killer was not just one person.”

Karzai said Afghan investigators are suspicious of US video footage captured by security cameras, CNN said. Bales has been described as a decorated veteran of three combat tours in Iraq. He was in his first deployment in Afghanistan. His unit was based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. He reportedly suffered a serious head injury in 2010 in a vehicle rollover in Iraq. “I think it’s of interest that we have a soldier who has an exemplary record, a decorated soldier who was injured in Iraq to his brain and to his body, and then despite that was sent back. I think that’s an issue.

 I think it’s a concern,” said Bales lawyer John Henry Browne.

A senior US official told the Times Bales may have been drinking heavily just before the shootings, a violation of military regulations in combat areas.

“When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues - he just snapped,” said the official, who was briefed on the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Browne, whose high-profile client list includes a teenage thief known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” said a report of marital tension was “nonsense,” the Times reported.

Bales and his wife, the parents of two children, had “a very healthy marriage,” Browne said.