US soldiers accused of murdering civilians

US soldiers accused of murdering civilians

Also charged with cutting fingers from corpses

 
The infantry soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade based in Washington state were deployed to Kandahar province a year ago and the murders occurred between January and March, according to charges by army prosecutors made public this week.

“Allegations like this are... very serious,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told a news briefing.

“Clearly, even if these allegations are proved to be untrue, it is unhelpful. It does not help the perceptions of our forces around the world.”

Morrell declined to comment on the specifics of the charges because the case is still in the military justice system.

Five soldiers were charged in June with the murder of three Afghan civilians in Kandahar province.

Covering up

But new charges disclosed to the media show seven others have also been charged in the case and face accusations that include conspiracy to cover-up the crime.

An Army spokeswoman said four of the soldiers have been charged for keeping body parts, which beyond finger bones and a skull include leg bones and a human tooth. It was unclear where the remains had come from based on the charge sheets. Morrell said the allegations had yet to be proven, but were “serious nonetheless”.

They also face charges of using hashish, obstructing justice, possessing human body parts and retaining mortar rounds for personal use.

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