Thursday, January 18, 2018

Afghan leader condemns U.S. troop photos with body parts

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned photographs of U.S. soldiers posing with the bloodied remains of three suicide bombers as "disgusting" and said Thursday that only a quicker exit of international forces can prevent such missteps.

Karzai joined top American officials in denouncing the 2-year-old photos, the latest in a string of embarrassing controversies that have jeopardized relations between the two countries in the midst of negotiations over the withdrawal of foreign troops.

The photos were published in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times.

"It is such a disgusting act to take photos with body parts and then share it with others," Karzai said. "The only way to put an end to such painful experiences is through an accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces."

The Afghan government is scheduled to start taking the lead in security in 2013 and fully take over by the end of 2014 when the majority of international combat troops leave. It was not clear what Karzai meant by an "accelerated" transition.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid also called the pictures disrespectful. He condemned both the U.S. soldiers involved in the pictures and the Afghan police also featured in them.

On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apologized and expressed concern the gruesome photos could incite fresh violence against Americans. The White House also called them "reprehensible."

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