21 March 2011

Afghan "kill team" photos published by Spiegel

Excerpts from the Spiegel Online article:
The images are repulsive. A group of rogue US Army soldiers in Afghanistan killed innocent civilians and then posed with their bodies. On Monday, SPIEGEL published some of the photos -- and the US military responded promptly with an apology. Still, NATO fears that reactions in Afghanistan could be violent...

In a statement released by Colonel Thomas Collins, the US Army, which is currently preparing a court martial to try a total of 12 suspects in connection with the killings, apologized for the suffering the photos have caused. The actions depicted in the photos, the statement read, are "repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States."

The suspected perpetrators are part of a group of US soldiers accused of several killings. Their court martials are expected to start soon. The photos, the army statement said, stand "in stark contrast to the discipline, professionalism and respect that have characterized our soldiers' performance during nearly 10 years of sustained operations."..

The SPIEGEL story printed on Monday includes new details about a series of murders of innocent Afghans committed by a group of US soldiers. One of the accused, Corporal Jeremy Morlock, 22, confessed to the murders three months ago. Morlock is scheduled to face a general court-martial on Thursday. In total, 12 US soldiers who were allegedly part of what has been described as a "kill team" in Afghanistan are expected to go on trial soon...

The piece in SPIEGEL reconstructs some of the atrocities and includes three previously unknown photographs. Among other things, they show two of the suspected killers posing next to a corpse. The victim in the image is Gul Mudin, an Afghan man killed on Jan. 15, 2010 in the village of La Mohammed Kalay. In total, SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL TV has obtained close to 4,000 photos and videos...

In one incident, which has been reconstructed based on documents from the investigation, the soldiers themselves detonate a hand grenade in order to make it look like they were the subjects of an attack before killing a man. One of those who allegedly participated, Adam Winfield, 21, described the incident to his father in a chat on the social networking site Facebook. "They made it look like the guy threw a grenade at them and mowed him down," SPIEGEL quotes Winfield as having written in the chat...

The 12 men are also facing further charges of desecration of corpses, illegal possession of photos of corpses, drug abuse and acts of bodily injury against comrades.
Because some TYWKIWDBI readers are sensitive to depictions of violence, I have croppd the bottom off of the embedded image. Those wishing to view the entire image and two additional ones will need to do so at the Spiegel Online source.


  1. This is repulsive beyond words if it is as described. However, I am going to hold out hope that what is reported is not the whole story. Keep up the great blogging and let us know if there are any further developments on this, I'll keep my eyes peeled.

  2. I read a book called 'Lethal Warriors' that primarily follows a handful of soldiers from one company who committed murder when back in the US, but the book also discussed situations like this. By their account, this stuff happens more often than you'd like to think. Apparently for every atrocity that gets caught there are a dozen or more that aren't.

    My impression is that it's not representative of the actions of most troops, but there are (and I suspect always have been and always will be) soldiers who cease to see the enemy as human after a while, on all sides of all conflicts. The book posited that the unique situations of modern warfare (extended tours, inability to tell friend from foe, and high powered weaponry) lend themselves to more of this dehumanizing behavior than we'd see otherwise. I'm not sure. I think I'd rather not find out.

  3. Hard to believe that these boys were this sadistic before they entered the military. Do we now see what this foreign adventuris¬m does to people? These folks should be punished but for god's sakes bring our young people home before they deteriorat¬e into madness like these folks.

  4. I very rarely recoil from things but this made me stop in my tracks. Truly repulsive.

  5. You really don't understand repulsive


    which isn't to say that those guys don't belong in prison for the rest of their lives. But there are a lot of things out there a lot worse than what they did.


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