Photos Appear to Show US Soldiers Posing with Suicide Bombers
(NEW YORK) -- The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan along with the U.S. embassy there have strongly condemned photos released Thursday by The Los Angeles Times that appear to show American soldiers in Afghanistan posing with the bodies of suicide bombers.
According to the Times, the photos were taken in 2010 and involved paratroopers with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. The newspaper obtained the photos from one of the division's soldiers.
In a statement Thursday, Gen. John Allen, head of the International Security Assistance Force, said, "The actions of the individuals photographed do not represent the policies of ISAF or the U.S. Army. This behavior and these images are entirely inconsistent with the values of ISAF and all service members of the fifty ISAF countries serving in Afghanistan."
Allen said the incident is being "thoroughly investigated by U.S. national authorities."
"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," he added.
An Army spokeswoman told the Times that most of the soldiers pictured have been identified.
Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, also issued a statement on Thursday, calling the actions "morally repugnant" and saying they "dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military."
The incident comes as relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan have been strained by recent events, including the inadvertent burning of Qurans at Bagram Air Field in February and the shooting rampage allegedly at the hands of a U.S. Army sergeant that left 17 Afghan civilians dead in March.
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