A group of photos were released on Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times that reportedly show United States troops posing with remains of suicide bombers in Afghanistan. An unidentified solider released the photos to the newspaper. General John Allen, from the International Security Assistant Force, condemned the photos. The ISAF released a statement about the photos saying that the photos “represents a serious error in judgment by several soldiers who have acted out of ignorance and unfamiliarity with U.S. Army values.”
The newspaper said that the unidentified soldier released the photos so people would understand the shortcomings for security at United States bases in Afghanistan. The newspaper said, “He said the photos point to a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops.”
This is not the first scandal to affect U.S. troops abroad in recent months. Back in January, a video showed Marines urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters. In February, Qurans were burned at an airbase for NATO. Then, in March, 17 Afghanistan civilians were murdered by a U.S. army sergeant who went on a rampage.
One of the photos shows a paratrooper posing next to an unofficial patch put near a body that says ‘Zombie Hunter.’ Another photo shows soldiers posing with Afghan police who are holding onto severed legs of insurgent bombers. Then another photo shows a dead insurgent’s hand being held by two soldiers. The hand shows the middle finger pointed in the air. The photos were reportedly taken in 2010 at a police station in the Zabol province of Afghanistan. The soldiers are reportedly from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Leon Panetta, the U.S. Defense Secretary, said in a statement that by publishing the pictures the United States could face future attacks against its security forces.
“The danger is that this material could be used by the enemy to incite violence against U.S. and Afghan service members in Afghanistan,” Panetta said. “U.S. forces in the country are taking security measures to guard against it.”
A spokesman for the Pentagon, Captain John Kirby, released the following statement:
“The conduct depicted most certainly does not represent the character and the professionalism of the great majority of our troops in Afghanistan…. Nevertheless, this imagery — more than two years old — now has the potential to indict them all in the minds of local Afghans, inciting violence and perhaps causing needless casualties. We have taken the necessary precautions to protect our troops in the event of any backlash.”