Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned a video that appears to show United States Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters.
The unverified 39-second video, posted online yesterday, 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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According to the caption beneath the video, the Marines are "a scout sniper team assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C."
"I thought Marines were suppose [sic] to do the right thing when no one is watching,” the caption says.
One of the men says in the video, "Have a great day, buddy," while another asks if they were being filmed.
"Golden, like a shower," the man says.
In a statement Thursday, President Karzai said the Afghan government 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."
The US Marine Corps has launched an investigation into the footage. The behavior it showed was "not consistent with our core values," a statement said.
According to the Associated Press, the case has been referred to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Navy’s worldwide law-enforcement organization.
Anyone found to have been involved will be held accountable, said NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which attributed the actions to "a small group of US individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan."
In extreme cases, an act such as urinating on a body could be construed as a war crime, ISAF spokesman Col. Gary Kolb told CNN.
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An American-Islamic group called for those involved to face swift justice, the Washington Post said.
"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 Council on Islamic-American Relations said in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta."
Panetta responded Thursday as the Pentagon attempted to do damage control. "I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Panetta said in a statement. "Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."
Marine Commandant James Amos called the act "wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos," the AP reported.
However, a spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, told the BBC that the video was "not a political process," so would not disrupt peace talks.
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