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|03-22-2011, 01:23 AM||#1|
U.S. Army apologizes for photos
American soldiers have appeared in leaked photographs posing with the bloodied and partially-naked bodies of Afghan civilians they allegedly killed in cold blood.
Last night, the U.S. army was forced to apologise for the ‘repugnant’ pictures.
And Nato commanders in Afghanistan were said to be bracing themselves for a public backlash and possible riots over the 'trophy' photographs, especially since it has been alleged that the Afghan civilians were unarmed and innocent.
The photographs were published yesterday by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine and were among 4,000 they have obtained.
Some of the images allegedly taken by a rogue U.S. army unit in Afghanistan last year show two soldiers kneeling over a bloodied, half-naked body.
They each hold the face of the dead man up to the camera by grabbing his hair and turning his head. One of the soldiers is grinning.
Senior military officials fear they could lead to the kind of worldwide protests caused by the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, in which U.S. soldiers were pictured abusing prisoners in Iraq.
It is feared that these pictures - which show the aftermath of the murders at the hands of a rogue U.S. Stryker 'kill team' - could be even more damaging as the trials of the 12 accused men are currently under way in Seattle.
On Sunday night, many organisations employing foreign staff - including the United Nations - ordered their staff into a 'lockdown', banning all movements around Kabul and requiring people to remain in their compounds.
Army officials attempted to keep the photographs under wraps as part of the war crimes probe fearing it could inflame feelings at a time when anti-Americanism in Afghanistan is already running high.
In their statement, the U.S. army said the photographs depicted 'actions repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States Army.
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