Feared anti- US protests over a video showing Marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan insurgents failed to erupt after Friday prayers in the Afghan capital, but anger ran deep on the streets.
” This is an absolutely
savage act and condemnable in any religion,” said Waheedullah, 20, a road construction worker as he left a mosque in Kabul.
” First they kill Afghans in their homeland and then they urinate on them. It is not acceptable – we should do it to them.” But the mullah at Kabuls biggest mosque did not mention the incident in his sermon on Friday, and worshippers dispersed peacefully.
Protests have in the past been sparked by inflammatory sermons.
” I believe there has been kind of a deliberate effort by people inside the government to cover up the issue,” Mati Kharoti, Afghan analyst and commentator, told AFP. ” But this doesnalt39t mean that nothing will happen. It takes time for people to become aware of the news, thus I believe there is a good possibility we will witness angry reactions in the coming days.” The quiet reaction so far on the streets reflects a surprisingly measured response by the hardline Taliban Islamists, whose fighters are believed to be the victims in the video.
A Taliban spokesman condemned the behaviour of the soldiers as ” barbaric”, but said it would not derail tentative moves towards peace talks between the insurgents and the United States.
” Normally such an issue would be used to bash foreigners, but their reaction could be an indicator that they might be serious about talks,” said Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
The Afghan government also appeared to be choosing not use the issue to inflame anger against its US allies, she said, pointing out that most demonstrations in Kabul tended to be organised, not spontaneous.
The images conjured up previous abuses committed by US troops during the decade- long war and top US officials scrambled to condemn the soldiers.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said the behaviour in the video was ” utterly deplorable”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of her ” total dismay”, and both vowed that the culprits would be found and punished.
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai said the government was ” deeply disturbed” at the desecration, which he described as ” simply inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms”. — AFP
alt39 URINATINGalt39 TROOPS IDENTIFIED
Washington: The US Marines have claimed that two of the four US Marines shown urinating on dead Taliban fighters in a You Tube video have been identified. A criminal investigation and an internal probe has already been initiated by the Marines, but they have refused to reveal the names of the Marines involved, The BBC reports. ( See Pg 4)