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Marine Corps pledge full inquiry into footage appearing to show US soldiers in Afghanistan urinating on dead bodies.|
The US Marine Corps has said it will investigate a video posted on the internet which appears to show US soldiers in Afghanistan urinating on corpses.
In a statement issued on Wednesday after the footage came to light, the corps said the matter would be fully investigated.
"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 statement said.
The video, which was first posted on the Live Leak website, shows four men in military uniforms urinating on three bloodied bodies on the ground, apparently aware that they were being filmed.
One of them jokes: "Have a nice day, buddy." The other makes a lewd joke about a shower.
"Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is... egregious, disgusting behavior, unacceptable for anyone in uniform," said John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. "It turned my stomach," he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Jay Stout, a former US Marine Corps pilot, spoke to Al Jazeera from Los Angeles, saying he found the incident "disturbing".
"I am disturbed. Look, marines kill to win, and sometimes they kill a lot and that's good, that's fine, that's war. But in victory we are trained to be compassionate, we are trained to be respectful and this incident was neither of those.
"It was disturbing, it was depraved. It took us down to the same level as the Taliban and as a marine I don't like being at the same level as the Taliban," Stout said on Thursday.
In a statement, the Taliban said the incident was "against all human rights" but "not the only example of the horrific actions that the Americans have done in Afghanistan".
"American soldiers are trained to spread horror and this is one of the examples," the Taliban said.
However, the group's statement added that the incident would not affect planned negotiations with the US.
Some 20,000 marines are deployed in Afghanistan, mostly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in the south of the war-ravaged country.
The video could aggravate anti-US sentiment in Afghanistan after a decade of a war that has seen other cases of abuse.
The US military has been prosecuting soldiers from its army's 5th Stryker Brigade on charges of murdering unarmed Afghan civilians while deployed in 2010 in Kandahar province.
In that case, photographs published last March by two magazines - Der Spiegel and Rolling Stone - showed soldiers posing with the bloodied corpse of an Afghan boy they had just killed.
A Muslim civil rights group in the US condemned the alleged desecration of corpses in a letter to Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary.
"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 organisations.