US Steels for Fallout From 'Afghan Abu Ghraib'

Publication of 'repugnant' body photos are bound to infuriate community
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2011 2:39 AM CDT
US Steels for Fallout From 'Afghan Abu Ghraib'
Suspected 'Kill Team' member poses with the son of a farmer just killed in Afghanistan in a photo published in Der Spiegle.   (AllWeNeedIsAHero)

US officials are bracing for protests in Afghanistan in the wake of the publication of gruesome photos taken by a renegade "Kill Team" of American soldiers posing with a civilian corpse. Twelve members of the group face court martial charges linked to civilian murders. Three of some 4,000 images that are part of the case were published by Der Spiegel. One features a grinning soldier posing over the corpse of the son of a farmer presumably just killed. US officials have slammed the soldiers' actions as "repugnant," and immediately reached out to Afghan authorities.

But American officials worry that word is just getting out among the Afghan population, which is likely to erupt in fury over the photos that the Independent is comparing to the notorious US torture photos published from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The US has tried to suppress publication of the photos. But Der Spiegel editors say it's important to show the public that combatants have "lost sight" of their mission. Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock is expected to plead guilty to three murders tomorrow in a Seattle proceeding in a bid for a reduced sentence, reports the Wall Street Journal. (More Kill Team stories.)

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