US and Afghan officials have condemned a video purportedly showing US Marines urinating on the bodies of slain Taliban fighters. Though the Taliban says the “brutal” acts will not derail peace talks, the damage to the US mission may be irreversible.
A statement released by Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday called the act “completely inhumane” and demanded the US military punish the marines responsible, the Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, the White House is scrambling to contain the fallout from the latest accusation of war crimes against US soldiers.
On Thursday, defense secretary Leon Panetta released a strongly-worded statement concerning the incident.
“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.
Also, Marc Grossman, Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is expected to fly into the region this weekend to hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as well as other top officials from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Fears remain that Grossman’s attempts to reach an agreement with the Taliban concerning the opening of a political office in Qatar could be scuttled by the latest scandal.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that despite the shocking nature of the video, peace talks would continue unaffected.