Afghan leader condemns US troop photos

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned photographs of U.S. soldiers posing with the bloodied remains of three suicide bombers as “disgusting” and said Thursday that only a quicker exit of international forces can prevent such missteps.

Karzai joined top American officials in denouncing that 2-year-old photos, the latest in a string of embarrassing controversies that have jeopardized relations between the two countries in the midst of negotiations over the withdrawal of foreign troops.

He also warned that “similar incidents of an odious nature” in the past sparked angry reactions from Afghans, including violent protests that left dozens dead, although there was no immediate sign of a popular backlash. The photos were published in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times. One shows members of the 82nd Airborne Division posing in 2010 with Afghan police holding the severed legs of a suicide bomber. The same platoon a few months later was sent to investigate the remains of three insurgents reported to have accidentally blown themselves up — and soldiers again posed and mugged for a photo with the remains, the newspaper said.

A photo from the second incident appears to show the hand of a dead insurgent resting on a U.S. soldier’s shoulder as the soldier smiles. “It is such a disgusting act to take photos with body parts and then share it with others,” Karzai said. “The only way to put an end to such painful experiences is through an accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces.”

Printed on Friday, April 20, 2012 as: Afghans denounce recent photos of US military posing with limbs