Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Video of Marines has not stifled Afghan peace progress

KABUL, Afghanistan — A 39-second video purporting to show Marines urinating on dead bodies in Afghanistan is straining U.S.-Afghan relations but is not expected to undo months of work aimed at brokering peace with the Taliban.

The images have not sparked widespread anti-U.S. protests, and Afghan officials say one battlefield abuse cannot derail the peace process, which has gained momentum in recent months with news that the Taliban will open a political office in Qatar.

U.S. military officials have sternly condemned the alleged acts of four Marines who appear to be desecrating the bodies of three men lying in the dirt. On the video, which appeared on YouTube on Wednesday, one of the men looks down at the bodies and gleefully quips, "Have a good day, buddy."

The video emerged at a delicate time in relations among the United States, Afghanistan's elected government and the Taliban insurgency. The U.S. is trying to foster peace talks between President Hamid Karzai's government and the Taliban. Recent statements by senior U.S. and Taliban officials suggest the possibility of some trust-building measures in the near future, such as the opening of the Taliban office and the transfer of some Taliban detainees out of the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Relations with Karzai have been shaky, and the two nations have yet to sign a long-term partnership agreement that will govern the presence of U.S. troops in the country after 2014 when most foreign troops will have gone home or moved into support roles.

Initially there were concerns that outrage over the issue would spiral into a scandal like the one in 2004 over the release of photos showing a group of U.S. military police abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who has promised an exhaustive investigation, expressed concern that the fragile peace effort could be jeopardized by the images that he described as "utterly deplorable."

"Reconciliation is a big change for the people of Afghanistan and it won't be affected by the actions of individuals like those in the video," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the Associated Press on Friday. "We are focused on the bigger picture and for that, we have to avoid small things."

Video of Marines has not stifled Afghan peace progress 01/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 14, 2012 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump strategist Steve Bannon: No military solution in North Korea

    National

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury."

    Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump, has drawn fire from some of Trump's closest advisers. [Associated Press]
  2. Offense gets some juggling

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The night after scoring six runs to emerge from what had been a historically fallow offensive stretch seemed like an odd time to make changes to the lineup, but that was exactly what the Rays did for Wednesday's late game against the Blue Jays.

    Associated Press
  3. Dunedin man accused of possessing child pornography

    Crime

    DUNEDIN — A 57-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of intentionally downloading child pornography, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Richard Beal Anger, 57, of Dunedin faces 11 counts of possession of child pornography. [Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Pence cuts short Latin America trip and pressures Chile to sever all ties to North Korea

    Politics

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Vice President Mike Pence is cutting short his Latin America trip by one day to return to Washington for a strategy meeting Friday at Camp David with President Donald Trump and the national security team.

    Vice President Mike Pence urged Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to take a tougher stand against North Korea on Wednesday in Santiago, Chile.
  5. Big Ben backlash: Plan to silence beloved bell under review

    World

    LONDON — British Parliament officials said Wednesday they will review plans to silence Big Ben during four years of repairs after senior politicians criticized the lengthy muting of the beloved bell.