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26 February 2024

Afghan killer of French was angry at Marine video


An Afghan defense spokesman said Wednesday that it is unclear whether the Afghan soldier who turned on French troops and killed four of them was motivated by a video purporting to show US Marines desecrating Taliban insurgents' bodies, or for some other reason.

Defense Ministry Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said an investigation is ongoing into the attack, and would not confirm speculation the video was a motivation. He said the recruit involved was 21 years old, and had been in the Afghan National Army less than three months.

``Our initial investigation is not completely clear,'' Azimi said.

The 39-second video, which showed what appeared to be Marines urinating on the corpses of Afghans, drew immediate condemnation from all sides when it surfaced on YouTube earlier this month.

The US military promised to investigate and punish those involved, but the video's wide distribution has threatened to sour relations between Afghans and the international troops working to train the national army to take over security by 2014.

French investigators are traveling to Afghanistan to assist the investigation into the attack, which prompted France to immediately halt training programs for the Afghan military and threaten to pull its forces out of the country earlier than planned.

Last week's attack was latest of several by an Afghan soldier on international troops working with the national army. There have been more than a dozen such turncoat attacks in two years, although the US-led coalition says they are isolated incidents that do not point to a wider trend nor to organized Taliban infiltration.