WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Monday it was disciplining U.S. troops over two incidents that provoked outrage in Afghanistan early this year, one involving a video depicting Marines urinating on corpses and another over burned copies of the Koran.
But the administrative punishments fell short of criminal prosecution and it was unclear whether they would satisfy Afghan demands for justice.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai branded the Marine’s actions in the video as “inhuman,” and he initially called for a public trial for the soldiers over the Koran incident.
The military did not disclose precise punishments for the troops but Army and Marine Corps spokesmen said they fell into a category that includes administrative sanctions, like a reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay.
The Marine Corps announced three Marines had pleaded guilty to charges over the video, which was widely seen on the Internet in January and showed Marines urinating on the corpses of what the Marine Corps said were dead Taliban fighters. One can be heard saying, “Have a nice day, buddy.”
Also on Monday, the Army announced that six soldiers received administrative punishments over an incident in which copies of the Koran and other religious material were removed from a prison library and sent to an incinerator to be destroyed. Four of the individuals involved were officers and two of them were non-commissioned officers, a spokesman said.
The incident in February touched off several days of rioting and attacks on U.S. troops after local workers found charred copies of the Koran among the trash at the incinerator at the Bagram base north of Kabul.