Code 49100
PublishDate: Thursday, April 19, 201211:32

Obama orders probe into desecration of bodies by soldiers

President Obama believed this matter should be investigated and “those responsible should be punished”.

Earlier on Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times ignored a Pentagon request and published photos of US soldiers posing with dead Taliban militants. The Pentagon had asked the newspaper not to publish the pictures as this would put American and Afghan troops at risk.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that President Obama believed this matter should be investigated and “those responsible should be punished”.

The conduct depicted in photos was ‘reprehensible’ and did not represent the standards of the US military, he said.

The photos were taken in 2010 and show a soldier with the hand of a dead militant on his shoulder and another with soldiers holding the legs of a corpse.

The Times said it obtained the pictures from a soldier who served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan. The soldier gave the photos to the media because of concerns about “a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops”, the Times reported. The newspaper received a set of 18 photographs taken over several months.

The photos pose another blow to the US military still recovering from the after-effects of another set of pictures that showed US troops desecrating bodies, the murder of 17 Afghan villagers by a US soldier and the burning of copies of the Holy Quran.

In a statement released by the Pentagon, US Defence Secretary Leon E. Panetta said the pictures did not represent the “values of professionalism” of the vast majority of US troops in Afghanistan.
The statement noted that the Pentagon had already ordered an investigation, which could lead to disciplinary measures.

“Anyone found responsible for this inhuman conduct will be held accountable in accordance with our military justice system,” the Pentagon said.

Pentagon said Secretary Panetta was disappointed that the newspaper published the photos despite a Pentagon request not to do so.

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