German soldiers defiled a corpse while in Afghanistan

25th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

25 October 2006, Berlin/Kabul (dpa) - Germany's defence ministry said Wednesday it was looking into allegations that German soldiers defiled a corpse while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The mass circulation Bild newspaper Wednesday published five photographs showing men dressed in German combat fatigues playing with the skull of a dead man. The soldiers, members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), could be seen posing with the skull on military vehicles. One photo shows one

25 October 2006

Berlin/Kabul (dpa) - Germany's defence ministry said Wednesday it was looking into allegations that German soldiers defiled a corpse while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The mass circulation Bild newspaper Wednesday published five photographs showing men dressed in German combat fatigues playing with the skull of a dead man.

The soldiers, members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), could be seen posing with the skull on military vehicles.

One photo shows one of the soldiers exposing himself while holding the skull in his right hand.

"It's absolutely clear that we cannot tolerate such behaviour by German soldiers," Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said in ordering an investigation into the incident.

He said the soldiers would have to reckon with disciplinary consequences "and possible criminal prosecution" if the photographs were found to be genuine.

   ISAF said it will cooperate and help as much as possible in the defence ministry's investigation, according to ISAF spokesman Luke Knittig in Kabul.       

Knittig warned against rash judgements of the soldiers allegedly involved in the 2003 incident near the Afghan capital Kabul and that they deserve a "full and fair investigation."

He added that the soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan "deserve to be judged on the merits of their mission achievement and demonstrated commitment to helping the people of Afghanistan."

"It is revolting and disgusting," said Bernhard Gertz, chairman of the German Armed Forces Association, which looks after the interests of German soldiers.

The report said the skull had apparently come from a mass grave but it was unclear whether it was that of an Afghan or a Russian killed during the Soviet occupation from 1979-89.

Germany has about 2,500 soldiers serving with the 30,000-strong NATO-led force in Afghanistan.

DPA

Subject: German news

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