A video purporting to show uniformed U.S. Marines joking as they urinate on the corpses of Taliban fighters is prompting outrage, promises of an investigation, but it wont likely derail peace talks between the the Afghan government and the militant group.
The Marine Corps said it was investigating the incident in light of the video, but had yet to verify the authenticity of the footage. But two military officials, speaking anonymously to Reuters, said the video, which surfaced Tuesday on YouTube and is likely to stir up anti-American sentiment in the region, did not appear to be fake.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force condemned the actions depicted on the video, and said they “appear to have been conducted by a small group of U.S. individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan.”
On Wednesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, decrying the “apparent desecration of the dead as a violation of our nation’s military regulations and international law.”
Afghan officials and the Taliban have recently renewed peace talks.
Marc Grossman, the White House special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is expected to meet in the coming days with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. On the agenda is the creation of a Taliban political office in Qatar, and the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.
A Taliban spokesman called the video “barbaric,” but said it would not impact scheduled negotiations.