The Los Angeles Times has published photos apparently showing U.S. military personnel posing with the dead bodies of Afghan insurgents.
(CBS News) -- The Los Angeles Times has published photos apparently showing U.S. military personnel posing with the dead bodies of Afghan insurgents.
The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan wasted little time condemning the actions in the pictures, saying in a statement that "the incident depicted in the LA Times' photographs represents a serious error in judgment by several soldiers who have acted out of ignorance and unfamiliarity with U.S. Army values."
According to the LA Times report, soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division posed with the mangled remains of insurgents on two occasions in 2010 after being sent to examine the corpses for the purpose of identifying them through fingerprints or iris scans.
A soldier in the division gave the paper 18 photographs, claiming they indicated a breakdown in leadership and discipline that could compromise troop safety, according to the Times.
U.S. Gen. John Allen, who leads the coalition forces said "these actions undermine the daily sacrifices of thousands of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops who continue to serve honorably in Afghanistan. We will collaborate with Afghan authorities and carefully examine the facts and circumstances shown in these photos. As part of this process, we will determine responsibility and accountability of those involved."
The Times said the decision to publish several of the photos came over the objection of U.S. military officials.
"After careful consideration, we decided that publishing a small but representative selection of the photos would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops," editor Davan Maharaj said.
The photos could prove to be the latest in a string of incidents that have tested ties between the U.S. and Afghanistan. Earlier this year, YouTube video surfaced apparently showing U.S. troops urinating on the remains of Taliban insurgents; a Quran was burned by U.S. soldiers, who have claimed it was inadvertent, on a military base; and a U.S. soldier is accused of massacring 17 Afghan civilians during a shooting rampage.