U.S. investigators believe they have identified and questioned at least two of the four Marines seen on video urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.
Senior Marine officials with knowledge of the investigation say the four were members of a 1,000-man battalion from Camp LeJeune, ((in the southern U.S. state of )) North Carolina. The battalion recently completed a combat tour in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, where it lost seven of its members during clashes with the Taliban. The officials also say the four men appear to be part of the battalion's sniper team, based on their gear and weapons that they are carrying in the video. Top U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have condemned the video, Panetta calling it "utterly deplorable." On Friday, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan expressed his outrage over the video. General John Allen, currently traveling in the United States, said such acts must be condemned in the "strongest manner possible." He also said those responsible would be held accountable. Several officials say that if the incident is confirmed, the Marines involved could be charged with war crimes for not treating the bodies of those killed in war honorably.