Four US soldiers face disciplinary action for burning Taliban soldiers' bodies

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Four US soldiers involved in the burning of two dead Afghan Taliban bodies on October 1st now face disciplinary measures for their actions. The two officers who ordered the burning of the bodies were reprimanded for lacking cultural and religious sensitivity. The Muslim faith does not permit the cremation of dead bodies. The two soldiers responsible for recording a message boasting about the act of the burning and broadcasting it on loudspeakers will face non-judicial punishment, which may include a loss of pay, confinement to quarters, or demotion in rank. Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya explained that while the broadcast was "designed to incite fleeing Taliban to fight," this violates military policy.

Kandahar's governor, Asadullah Khalid, expressed his confidence into the investigation. Religious leaders in the region, however, have criticised its findings and called for more severe punishment of the soldiers involved. An Afghan investigation into the matter that was ordered by President Hamid Karzai has also been completed, although the results have not been released.

The US army investigation concluded that there was no intent to desecrate the bodies as the intention behind the burnings were hygienic reasons. No criminal charges were pressed against any of the soldiers involved.

The footage, filmed by Australian journalist Stephen Dupont, has not been aired in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.