The U.S. military on Monday announced they have punished Six Army soldiers who burned Qurans at a U.S. air base in Afghanistan and three Marines who urinated on dead Taliban corpses. All received administrative, or “non-judicial,” punishments, which means the soldiers will not serve jail time but could lose their jobs in the military or get denied promotions.
The Marine Corps said one Marine pleaded guilty to urinating on and posing for photographs with dead Taliban soldiers. Another Marine, according to the Marine Corps, pleaded guilty to videotaping the urination and posing for photographs while another pleaded guilty to failing to report the incident and making false statements about it to investigators.
The U.S. military faced a backlash from Afghans in the first three months of the year when a videotape from 2011 of Marines urinating on dead Taliban corpses appeared on YouTube in January. That was followed by U.S. soldiers, in what was a misunderstanding, burning Qurans they thought were meant to be discarded because they had been defiled, at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. A U.S. soldier also shot 16 Afghans as well during that time period.
These incidents sparked protests across Afghanistan at the beginning of the year. President Barack Obama even apologized to Afghans, and was criticized at the time for succumbing to political correctness and appeasement. Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded U.S. troops be tried in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials worried on Monday that the lack of criminal punishments for these incidents could lead to more violence in Afghanistan, where relations between Afghans and the U.S. military are becoming more tense.