January 12th, 2012
Related: NewsRescue- US soldiers encouraged to spread Christian faith among Afghanistan Muslims
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned a video depicting what appears to be four US Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters.
A presidential statement today described the act as “completely inhumane” and called on the US military to punish the Marines.
The Marine Corps said it is investigating the YouTube video, below, but has not yet verified its origin or authenticity.
The case has being referred to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the US Navy’s worldwide law enforcement organisation.
The Afghan Ministry of Defence also condemned the actions in the video, which it described as “shocking”.
The footage of what appears to be the four US Marines urinating can be seen by clicking on the video above
Related: NewsRescue- Obama Afghan forces kill dozens helping themselves to fuel in Afghanistan
The Nato-led security force in Afghanistan (Isaf) called the actions “inexplicable and not in keeping with the high moral standards” expected of coalition forces.
ISAF said the actions “appear to have been conducted by a small group of US individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan”.
The Council on Islamic-American Relations, a prominent Muslim civil rights and advocacy group based in Washington, quickly condemned the video.
“We condemn this apparent desecration of the dead as a violation of our nation’s military regulations and of international laws of war prohibiting such disgusting and immoral actions,” the group wrote in a letter faxed to Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.
“If verified as authentic, the video shows behaviour that is totally unbecoming of American military personnel and that could ultimately endanger other soldiers and civilians,” the letter said.
Senator John McCain, a Navy veteran who fought in the Vietnam war, said the incident “makes me so sad”.
McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the Marine Corps one of America’s strongest institutions and said its image has apparently been tarnished by “a handful of obviously undisciplined people”.
He told CBS: “There should be an investigation and these young people should be punished.”
Marine Corps headquarters at the Pentagon said: “The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps. This matter will be fully investigated.”
A Marine Corps spokesman, Lt Col Stewart Upton, said: “Allegations of Marines not doing the right thing in regard to dead Taliban insurgents are very serious and, if proven, represent a failure to adhere to the high standards expected of American military personnel.”
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt John Kirby, said the video was deeply troubling.
“Whoever it is, and whatever the circumstances – which we know is under investigation – it is egregious behaviour,” he said.
It is unclear who shot the video and who posted it online. Mirror