Panetta Calls Karzai Over Marines' Video

Two of the four servicemen have been identified
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2012 2:47 PM CST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a ceremony in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

(Newser) – The US went into full damage control mode today over a video that surfaced yesterday that appeared to show four Marines urinating on Taliban fighters' corpses. Leon Panetta called Hamid Karzai to decry the video, and he issued a statement calling the actions "entirely inappropriate," the Wall Street Journal reports. Earlier, Karzai himself called the conduct "inhuman," and released a statement calling for "severe punishment" for the offending troops.

US officials say Karzai reacted favorably to the call, and that his statement was uncharacteristically restrained. The Taliban, meanwhile, decried the "war crimes, inhuman and immoral deeds" in the video, and said Americans would be punished and "face the extreme hatred of the Afghans," but a spokesman said the incident would not derail peace talks. The US has identified two of the Marines seen in the video but is not releasing their names, Reuters reports. They are based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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