KABUL, Afghanistan -- Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the U.S. commander of Western troops in Afghanistan, has denounced the actions of U.S. soldiers shown in photographs posing with the body parts of suicide bombers. The photos were published Wednesday in the Los Angeles Times.
The graphic images were the latest in a series of damaging incidents and disclosures involving American troops in Afghanistan, including video that surfaced in January depicting U.S. troops urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban combatants, the burning of Korans at an American-run military base in February and the shooting rampage by a U.S. Army sergeant in Kandahar province last month.
"The actions of the individuals photographed do not represent the policies" of the NATO force "or the U.S. Army," Allen said in a statement in which he called the behavior "entirely inconsistent" with the values of the United States and its coalition partners. He said an investigation was already underway.
The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan C. Crocker, also issued a condemnatory statement.
"Such actions are morally repugnant, dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military," the statement said.
The office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has often been critical of the actions of NATO's International Security Assistance Force and American troops in particular, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
-- Laura King
Photo: A soldier from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division with the body of an Afghan insurgent killed while trying to plant a roadside bomb. The photo is one of 18 provided to The Times of U.S. soldiers posing with corpses. Credit: Los Angeles Times