Der Spiegel: Afg

March 21, 2011 by USA Post 

Der Spiegel, The U.S. military has apologized for pictures of American soldiers smiling over the bodies of Afghan civilians they had killed.

The photos published by the German magazine Der Spiegel were said to be among the many seized by investigators from the U.S. Army.

A military statement said the photographs were “disgusting”, but it was already used as evidence in a court martial.

The deaths of Afghan civilians at the hands of foreign forces are a sensitive issue in Afghanistan.

These photographs were supposedly taken by a unit of “thugs” of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2010.

These images will exacerbate tensions between the Afghan government and people on one hand and the US-led coalition on the other, told the BBC, Paul Wood in Kabul.

It is not known exactly when the photos published were taken, but Der Spiegel said they are among the 4,000 photographs and pieces of video they have achieved.

Some pictures show two men kneeling on a body. They each hold the face of death on camera entering her hair and turning her head. A U.S. soldier is smiling.

The U.S. military said the photographs show “actions contrary to us as human beings and contrary to the norms and values?? Of the United States Army.”

“The actions described in these photographs remain under investigation and are now the subject of ongoing proceedings in U.S. court martial in which the accused is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty” added.

Soldiers who are convicted will be held accountable as appropriate, the army said.

The magazine Der Spiegel claims to have identified one of the soldiers in the photographs that Cpl Jeremy Morlock. It is one of five soldiers accused of the premeditated murder of three Afghan civilians earlier this year.

Cpl Morlock agreed to plead guilty at the end of February and get a shorter prison term if he testified against the other accused soldiers.

They deny the charges. Seven other soldiers from the same unit were charged with conspiracy to conceal the alleged killings.

Court martial Cpl Morlock is due to resume on Wednesday.

The five accused of murder allegedly threw grenades and opened fire on civilians in unprovoked attacks, while the seven others are accused of dismembering victims and collecting body parts.

These photographs are allegedly the alleged acts of a few “renegade” soldiers, but Afghan sensitivities about the civilian deaths are running high after a series of incidents in which coalition forces have been blamed for accidentally killed civilians in the bombing.

“This could worsen the situation. This is the last thing we expected at this time. Our position is very clear, stop killing civilians and the murder is not acceptable to the president for the country and people of Afghanistan, “an official of the National Council of Afghanistan’s security deals with the U.S. Army, who wished to remain anonymous, told the BBC’s Bilal Sarwary.


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