The U.S. Marine Corps said Wednesday it would investigate a video showing what appears to be American troops in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.
The video, which was posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage combat uniforms urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban.
One of them jokes: "Have a nice day, buddy." The other makes a lewd joke about a shower.
A copy of the video can be seen here
"While we have not yet verified the origin or authenticity of this video, the actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps," the Marines said in a statement. "This matter will be fully investigated."
A Muslim civil rights group in the United States condemned the alleged desecration of corpses in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
"Any guilty parties must be punished to the full extent allowed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and by relevant American laws," the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to media organizations including Reuters.
A number of websites including TMZ
and YouTube posted the video Wednesday, CNN
reported. It was not clear who shot or posted the 39-second video, who the people pictured in it were or where it was shot.
A senior Marine Corps official who has examined the video told CNN that the Marines are carrying 30-caliber sniper rifles and wearing helmets issued to members of Marine Corps sniper teams. The helmets are designed with a shorter front and sides so that snipers can place rifles and scopes near their faces.
The official, who told CNN
that an investigating officer was expected to be named shortly, added that the desecration of a body by U.S. troops could be considered a potential war crime.
"We recently became aware of an inappropriate video on a public website that appears to involve members of our military," International Security Assistance Force spokesman Col. Gary Kolb said from Kabul, Afghanistan. "We will not speculate on the details but will take all necessary actions to determine the facts."
He said an investigation was under way but would not comment on the video's authenticity. The faces of the bodies are not identifiable.
© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.