Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The ‘Kill Team’ Images: US Army Apologizes for Horrific Photos from Afghanistan

By Matthias Gebauer and Hasnain Kazim, Spiegel Online, Mar. 21, 2011


The images are repulsive. A group of rogue US Army soldiers in Afghanistan killed innocent civilians and then posed with their bodies. On Monday, SPIEGEL published some of the photos — and the US military responded promptly with an apology. Still, NATO fears that reactions in Afghanistan could be violent.
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The United States and NATO are concerned that reactions could be intense to the publication of images documenting killings committed by US soldiers in Afghanistan. The images appeared in the most recent edition of SPIEGEL, which hit the newsstands on Monday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already telephoned with her Afghan counterpart to discuss the situation. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon has likewise made contact with officials in Kabul. The case threatens to strain already fragile US-Afghan relations at a time when the two countries are negotiating over the establishment of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan.

In a statement released by Colonel Thomas Collins, the US Army, which is currently preparing a court martial to try a total of 12 suspects in connection with the killings, apologized for the suffering the photos have caused. The actions depicted in the photos, the statement read, are “repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States.”

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