Defense Secretary Leon Panetta came out strongly Thursday against a video that purports to show US Marines urinating on Taliban corpses, according to the Associated Press. Panetta called the video "utterly deplorable."
"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," he said in a statement, as reported by Reuters. "Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."
The Pentagon has said it does not appear that the video is fake.
Panetta said the four Marines' behavior was "entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military."
The defense secretary reportedly also called for a full investigation into the video by the Marine Corps and the top commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen.
Earlier, Afghan President Hamid Karzai responded to the video by saying he was "deeply disturbed" by the images.
"This act by American soldiers is simply inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms. We expressly ask the US government to urgently investigate the video and apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty in this crime," he said in a statement.
The unverified 39-second video, posted online earlier this week, claims to show combat-ready Marines desecrating the remains of several bodies on the ground; it’s titled "Marines peeing on taliban." It has since been removed from YouTube by the user, who was identified only as "semperfiLoneVoice."
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