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US Soldiers in Afghanistan Took Home 'Finger Trophies'

'Kill team' murdered Afghan civilians for sport, say investigators
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2010 3:08 AM CDT
Updated Sep 9, 2010 5:06 AM CDT
US Afghan 'Kill Team Took Finger Trophies'
US and Afghan Army soldiers patrol in southern Afghanistan in the region surrounding Kandahar where officials says the "kill team" operated.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

(Newser) – A secret "kill team" of US soldiers in Afghanistan murdered civilians for sport and kept their fingers as trophies, according to Army investigators. Prosecutors have charged members of an American infantry brigade with some of the most serious war crimes to surface in the Afghanistan war. Five of the soldiers allegedly murdered three Afghan men for fun in three separate incidents, while seven others covered up the killings, the Guardian reports.

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A new recruit joining the brigade exposed the killings when he complained to superiors about other abuses by the kill team members, who he said smoked hash stolen from civilians. They later assaulted the recruit to punish him for reporting their behavior, according to officials. The sport killings apparently began after a new sergeant arrived at the base from Iraq last November, boasting about how easy it had been in Iraq to get away with murdering civilians, according to witnesses. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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