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A U.S. Army soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division with a dead insurgent's hand on his shoulder.

On April 18, 2012 the Los Angeles Times released photos of U.S. soldiers posing with body parts of dead insurgents,[1][2] after a soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division gave the photos to the L.A. Times to draw attention to "a breakdown in security, discipline and professionalism"[3] among U.S. troops operating in Afghanistan.[1][3] U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta called the soldiers behavior unacceptable, promised a full investigation and said about the soldiers behaviour in comparison to the U.S. armed forces in general: "This is not who we are, and it’s certainly not what we represent when it comes to the great majority of men and women in uniform."[4] The actions of the soldiers were condemned by General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF).[5] US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said: "The actions were morally repugnant, dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military.”[6] The New York Times reported that according to White House sources President Obama called for an investigation of the matter and said that those responsible would be held accountable.[7] Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid called the pictures disrespectful and condemned both the U.S. soldiers involved in the pictures as well as the Afghan police also featured in them. "We strongly condemn these occupiers and their puppets who are without culture, who are brutal and inhuman," Mujahid said. "Next to these occupiers there are some Afghans -- puppets -- who were ordered to stand next to the bodies of the martyrs."[8] Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that it is "a disgusting act to take photos with body parts and then share it with others".[9] As of April 19, 2012 there has been no news of mass protests by the Afghan people such as after the Quran burnings in February 2012,[10] which Afghan lawmakers ascribe to the Afghan people's unsympathy for suicide bombers.[11] Mohammad Naim Lalai Hamidzai, a parliamentarian from southern Kandahar, told the Associated Press that "the people of Afghanistan remember the killing of innocent people by suicide bombers and people do not have a good image of these suicide bombers. The burning of Qurans and the killing of children create emotions in people, but there is no sympathy for suicide bombers who kill innocent people."[11] Another reasons for the muted reaction in Afghanistan was that evening TV bulletins did not show the photos and that many ordinary Afghans have no internet access.[12]

Investigation and Prosecution

The Army has started a criminal investigation.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zucchino, David (18 April). "U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan bombers".,0,6471010,full.story. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  2. Fantz, Ashley (19 April 2012). "How will leaked photos impact U.S. mission in Afghanistan?". CNN. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stelter, Brian (18 April 2012). "Pentagon Sought to Stop Paper From Using Photos". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  4. Thom Shanker; Graham Bowley (18 April 2012). "Images of G.I.’s and Remains Fuel Fears of Ebbing Discipline". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  5. "Obama calls for Afghan body abuse punishment". BBC. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  6. Schofield, Matthew (19 April 2012). "New Afghanistan war photos part of a long, controversial tradition". McClatchy Newspapers. The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  7. The New York Times (18 April 2012). "Photos of Soldiers Posing With Body Parts Add Strain to a Taxed Relationship". Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  8. "Afghan president criticises 'disgusting' photos of U.S. soldiers posing with corpses of suicide bombers and calls for western troops to speed up withdrawal". Daily Mail Reporter. The Daily Mail. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  9. Nic Paton Walsh, Ashley Fantz and Josh Levs (19 April 2012). "Karzai condemns photos of U.S. troops with insurgents' bodies". CNN News. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  10. Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau (6 May 2012). "Afghans React to Taliban Corpse Photos". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Quinn, Patrick (19 April 2012). "Afghan president says photos of US troops 'odious'". The Associated Press. The US Daily. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  12. Wright, Jessica (19 April 2012). "Leaders condemn US troops in body-parts photos". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 

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