American officials say they deplore the actions of a few apparent U.S. Marines shown urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.
Pentagon leader say they have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video, which surfaced late Wednesday, though it's not yet been confirmed. In it, four men, appearing to be wearing Marine combat uniforms, are shown urinating on at least three dead Taliban fighters.
“I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement to The New York Times. "Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”
The U.S. Marine Corps has launched an investigation into the video. NATO officials also called the behavior shown in the video totally unacceptable.
Afghans immediately worried that the conduct shown in the video would impede efforts to begin peace negotiations with the Taliban, but, according to the Times, Taliban officials said that would not be the case.
According to the BBC, the video has not yet been shown widely in Afghanistan, but there are fears that as it is spread, it could provoke further violence against international forces in the country.
If the video is indeed authentic, the behavior shown could be a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits the desecration of the bodies of fighters killed during a war.