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US marines urinated on Taliban corpses

The US military on Thursday was investigating a "disgusting" online video purportedly showing Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesperson said.

world Updated: Jan 13, 2012 01:44 IST

The US military on Thursday was investigating a "disgusting" online video purportedly showing Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesperson said.

The video shows what appears to be four servicemen, dressed in US military uniform, relieving themselves onto three bloodied bodies on the ground, apparently aware that they are being filmed.

"Have a great day, buddy," one of them says, giggling.

It is not clear from the video whether the dead Afghans were Taliban insurgents or civilians.

The Pentagon has not yet verified the video, but spokesman John Kirby told AFP: "Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is... egregious, disgusting behaviour, unacceptable for anyone in uniform."

"It turned my stomach," he added of the video, which was posted on the Live Leak website.

A military official who asked not to be named said the helmet and weapon carried by one of the men seems to indicate the four could be members of an elite sniper team.

The official also said such conduct would be punishable under the US code of military justice.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent US Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation, condemned the alleged desecration of corpses.

"If verified as authentic, the video shows behaviour that is totally unbecoming of American military personnel and that could ultimately endanger other soldiers and civilians," CAIR said in a statement.

A statement issued by the Pentagon said: "While we have not yet verified the origin or authenticity of this video, the actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps.

"This matter will be fully investigated."

In March 2011 the US military apologised after pictures surfaced of US soldiers from a rogue Army unit posing with dead Afghans. Five soldiers from the unit were charged with murder for allegedly shooting civilians for sport.