U.S. military further investigating crass treatment of bodies in Afghanistan
The US military said Friday it was probing allegations of further misconduct by a Marine unit in Afghanistan that triggered outrage after members were seen in a video urinating on bloodstained corpses.
US leaders in January condemned the behavior of the Marine unit and promised a full investigation. In the video, one Marine was heard saying, “Have a great day, buddy,” as he urinated on the body of a suspected Taliban militant.
During the probe, the Marine Corps “uncovered indications that there perhaps could have been more wrongdoing by people in that unit and so they’ve — prudently, I think — asked for another inquiry,” Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby told reporters.
A Marine Corps spokeswoman, Captain Kendra Motz, said that the investigation was needed “to have as complete of an understanding as possible of what actions took place.”
“The investigation is being conducted by a post-combat command Marine Corps colonel, and will be completed by mid-June 2012,” she said.
Officials declined to give details on the allegations of further misconduct. The men in the urination video are from a sniper unit in the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Military authorities have not revealed the findings of its investigations or decided whether to punish the four Marines, whose names have not been released.
The military has completed two investigations on the urination video, one conducted by Naval Criminal Investigative Service to determine if any criminal activity had taken place and the other probe looking at factors that may have led to the incident, Kotz said.
The video was one of a series of embarrassing incidents for the US military that have frayed trust just as the United States prepares to end its combat mission and hand over operations to Afghan forces.
A US soldier was charged in March with massacring 17 villagers in what would be the deadliest war crime by Western forces since the 2001 invasion toppled the extremist Taliban regime.
In February and March, around 40 people died in violent protests across Afghanistan after US forces accidentally burned copies of the Koran at their base.
[US Marines stand at attention before a service in January 2012 in California. AFP Photo/Jonathan Gibby]