US troops pose with maimed Afghan insurgent bodies
The already strained Washington-Kabul ties took a further jolt after recent photographs showed American soldiers posing with the mangled remains of suspected Taliban suicide bombers.
This incident is the latest in the series of scandals involving American troops in Afghanistan, but not the first. Rediff.com takes a look at some of the most shocking controversies that show US soldiers in negative light even as America prepares for the 2014 drawdown.
United States troops posed with mangled remains of suspected Taliban suicide bombers in a macabre incident that came to light on April 18.
American paratroopers sent to check out reports that the Afghan police had recovered the mangled remains of a suicide bomber, posed for photos grinning next to the copses with the local policemen, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The US servicemen were sent to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification of the bombers, before their mission turned macabre. The paper identified the soldiers to be from 82nd Airborne Division.
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Image: Los Angeles Times published pictures showing soldier from the Army's 82nd Airborne division with the body of a killed Afghan insurgent
'Rogue' US soldier kills 16 civilians in Afghanistan
Sixteen Afghans were killed by a 'rogue' United States soldier who walked off his base and opened fire on them in their homes in the early hours of March 11. The dead include nine children and three women, plus five wounded.
The soldier has been identified as Staff Sgt Robert Bales. He has been formally charged with 17 counts of murder of civilians. He was also charged with six counts of attempted murder over attacks on a man, a woman and four children in southern Afghanistan.
Image: An Afghan woman is interviewed next to the body of a child killed by soldier who went on a shooting spree in Kandahar province. Inset: Staff Sgt Robert Bales
Copies of Quran burned in Bagram Airbase
The alleged desecration of the Quran by the United States military in Bagram airbase, 50 km north of Afghan capital Kabul, triggered protests across Afghanistan in February end.
At least 15 people including two US soldiers were killed and scores others injured in the violent riots that erupted thereafter.
The United Nations termed the burning of the Quran and other religious materials as a "sad mistake" and expressed confidence that those behind the incident will be held accountable.
US President Barack Obama rendered his apology for the burning of Quran by his forces in Afghanistan.
"US President, Barack Obama sent President Hamid Karzai a letter to apologise for the incident in which copies of the Holy Quran were burnt in Bagram military base," a statement from the Afghan government said.
Image: Afghan men throw rocks towards a water canon near a US military base in Kabul to protest the burning of the Quran
US troops pose with Nazi SS flag
A photograph surfaced in February of a US Marine sniper team in Afghanistan posing in front of a flag with a logo resembling that of the notorious Nazi SS -- a special unit that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and others.
The Marine Corps said in a statement that using the symbol was not acceptable, but the marines in the photograph taken in September 2010 would not be disciplined because investigators determined it was a naive mistake.
The marines believed the SS symbol was meant to represent sniper scouts and never intended to be associated with a racist organisation, said Major Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton, where the marines were based.
Image: Video grab of US soldiers posing with Nazi-styled flag
US Marines urinate on dead Taliban
A shocking video appeared online in Januray showing United States Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, triggering protests from Muslim lobbies and prompting Pentagon to announce that it is investigating the authenticity of the film.
The video shows what appears to be four US Marines dressed in full military uniform relieving themselves onto bloodied bodies on the ground, apparently aware they have been filmed. "Have a great day, buddy," one of the Marines is caught as saying after the act.
American media reports quoting military officials said that the weapons carried by the servicemen indicated that they could be members of elite sniper teams.
The top commanders of the Marine Corps US forces in Afghanistan are investigating a video.
Image: Video grab taken from an undated YouTube video showing what is believed to be US Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan
US troops' controversial night raids
Afghanistan and the US signed a pact on April 8 to curb night raids on homes by American soldiers.
Night raids on suspected militants has raised anti-Western sentiment, but the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation backed it saying it was a key anti-insurgent tactic.
The deal, which has took months of negotiation, was signed by Afghan Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak and NATO's top commander in the country, US Marine General John Allen.
Image: Afghan Special Forces participate in a night raid training exercise in Kabul