A YouTube video showing what appears to be U.S. Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters will not affect efforts to broker peace talks, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid who spoke to Reuters on Thursday.
However, according to msnbc.com, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who saw the video, calling it insulting and insane, said that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan demands an investigation into the matter and punishment for the soldiers depicted in the video. That statement came after the NATO-led International Assistance Force said the video appeared to be as real as possible.
ISAF strongly condemns the actions depicted in the video, which appear to have been conducted by a small group of U.S. individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan, said the ISAF in a statement on Thursday. This behavior dishonors the sacrifices and core values of every service member representing the fifty nations of the coalition. Therefore, a United States Criminal Investigatory agency has launched an investigation. It will be thorough and any individuals with confirmed involvement will be held fully accountable.
The video shows four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on three corpses.
This is not the first time we see such brutality, said Mujahid. We know that our country is occupied. This is not a political process, so the video will not harm our talks and prisoner exchange because they are at the preliminary stage.
The footage, which the U.S. military also said appeared to be authentic but had not been officially verified, according to reports, actually does look like it could complicate efforts to promote peace as foreign troops gradually withdraw from Afghanistan. The U.S. Marine Corps is also launching an investigation of its own.
Such action will leave a very, very bad impact on peace efforts, said Arsala Rahmani, the top negotiator from Karzai's High Peace Council. Looking at such action, the Taliban can easily recruit young people and tell them that their country has been attacked by Christians and Jews and they must defend it.
Msnbc.com reports that the Marines, though unidentified by name, were confirmed to be a sniper team out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., who were deployed to southern Afghanistan from early 2011 until August of 2011.
They've committed a crime, said Feda Mohammad to Reuters. We don't want them in our country. We don't like foreigners in our country and they have to leave.
Marc Grossman, Obama's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, begins a series of diplomatic talks this weekend that include meetings with Karzai in Kabul and top officials in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a critical juncture of negotiations, according to the New York Times. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Times on Wednesday that as of right now, there appeared to be support, for the first time, for a political resolution that included Taliban leaders who ruled the country from 1996 until the American invasion after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The reality is we never have the luxury of negotiating for peace with our friends, said Clinton. If you're sitting across the table discussing a peaceful resolution to a conflict, you are sitting across from people who you by definition don't agree with and who you may previously have been across a battlefield from.
A Muslim civil rights group in the United States called The Council on American-Islamic Relations also condemned the Marines' alleged actions in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta obtained by Reuters, according to msnbc.com.
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 said in its letter.
Watch a video of the incident below: