(KABUL, Afghanistan) — NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has denounced the actions seen in a video that surfaced online Wednesday, allegedly showing several Marines urinating on the dead bodies of suspected Taliban fighters.
In a statement Thursday, NATO said, “This disrespectful act is inexplicable and not in keeping with the high moral standards we expect of coalition forces. ISAF strongly condemns the actions depicted in the video, which appear to have been conducted by a small group of U.S. individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan.”
The video, which is less than a minute long, appears to show four men in uniform looking around before urinating on three dead bodies. It was posted on several websites early Wednesday, one of which identified the Marines as belonging to the 3/2 Marine battalion out of Camp Lejeune, a fact later confirmed by ABC News. The battalion served in the northern Helmand Province in Afghanistan last summer.
Two of the four Marines in the video have been positively identified, a defense official tells ABC News.
The U.S. Marine Corps reacted quickly to reports of the story, saying the, “matter will be fully investigated and those responsible be held accountable for their actions.”
NATO affirmed this on Thursday, saying, “a United States Criminal Investigatory agency has launched an investigation. It will be thorough and any individuals with confirmed involvement will be held fully accountable.”
Meanwhile, the Afghan government issued its own response on Thursday, saying it is “deeply disturbed” by the video and is asking the U.S. government to, “urgently investigate the video and apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty in this crime.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sugam Pokharel and Tim Hume, CNN
Ralph Ellis, Ben Wedeman and Michael Pearson, CNN