- Rolling Stone reveals how U.S. troops murdered Afghan civilians
- Soldiers cut off 15-year-old boy’s finger and kept it as trophy
- Video captures U.S. troops cheering as airstrike kills two Afghan civilians
- New pictures show dead Afghan man’s head on a stick
- Soldier stabbed the body of a dead Afghan civilian
- Military tried to pull pictures out of circulation to avoid another Abu Ghraib
By Daniel Bates and Mark Duell
The Pentagon tonight apologised after shocking new details emerged of how American soldiers formed a ‘death squad’ to randomly murder Afghan civilians and mutilate their corpses.
An investigation by Rolling Stone magazine details how senior officers failed to stop troops killing Afghans and keeping their body parts as trophies.
In one horrific episode, the magazine claims troops threw a grenade at an innocent Afghan boy before chopped off his finger and later using it as ‘gambling chip’ in a game of cards.
The disturbing detail included in the dossier accuses American troops of a new level of depravity and is likely to be a public relations disaster for the military.
The U.S. Army says the photos of American soldiers posing with dead Afghans are ‘in striking contrast’ to its standards and values – apologising for any distress caused by the images.
The investigation by Rolling Stone also revealed how:
* Troops shot dead civilians and tried to cover their tracks;
* U.S. soldiers hacked off part of a dead man’s skull;
* Soldiers cheered as they filmed a U.S. airstrike blowing up two Afghan civilians;
* A video showed two Afghans on a motorcycle being gunned down.
The magazine claims the men hacked off bits of skull from their victims and kept them as trophies of their kills.
The soldiers are also accused of opening fire on civilians for no reason and covering up their attacks by planting guns and magazine on their victims.
The magazine claims that amongst the accused ‘killing innocent Afghan civilians became less a reason for concern than a cause for celebration’.
Last week Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 23, admitted his part in the twisted scheme and was jailed for 24 years.
The remaining four soldiers who are due to be court-martialled are Sergeant Calvin Gibbs – who is accused of being the ringleader – Specialist Adam C. Winfield, Specialist Michael S. Wagnon II and Private first class Andrew H. Holmes.
They were all part of the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, of the 2nd Infantry Division, who carried out at least four executions in Kandahar province between January and May last year.