US soldiers accused of killing Afghans to face action: ISAF
KABUL(PAN): US officials have been involved in an investigation to take an appropriate action against a group of American soldiers for allegedly killing three unarmed Afghans, the NATO-led force said on Wednesday
Rolling Stone magazine published a series of graphic photos showing the soldiers posing next to the dead bodies. "The depicted conduct is reprehensible. The actions of the soldiers in some of the pictures are contrary to the standards our soldiers uphold, and to the values that generations of Americans have fought to preserve," a statement issued by the coalition quoted Rear Admiral Vic Beck, Director of Public Affairs International Assistance Security Force ((ISAF), as saying.
The families of the victims were provided condolences and traditional compensation over a year ago, and the former NATO top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. McChrystal personally brought this matter to President Karzai’s attention during that time, the statement said.
President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday condemned the actions of five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade. The troops have been charged in the United States with murder and conspiracy in the slaying of three men in southern Afghanistan.
Morlock, the first of the five to be court-martialed, was sentenced last week to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of murder, as well as conspiracy and other charges. He said the killings were part of a deliberate plan to murder Afghan civilians.
Four other soldiers face similar murder charges. "It is as important to us as it is to you that those who are responsible for crimes against the Afghan people are held accountable as appropriate, and that justice is served," Beck said.
He said their most senior leaders, including US Vice President Biden, Ambassador Eikenberry and General Petraeus, also personally briefed President Karzai and other senior ministers and Afghan leaders and apologised for the anguish caused by the photos and for the reprehensible conduct they depict, and updated them on all actions being taken.
"It is our hope that the Afghan people realise the actions portrayed in the photos are not representative of our efforts here - that in fact US and other Coalition nations, partnered with the Afghan National Security Forces and shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan people during nearly 10 years of operations, are here to serve and protect the Afghan people, and to support development of governance and security for a brighter future for all Afghans," the statement said.
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