Two of the four Marines seen in a video appearing to urinate on the bodies of dead Taliban have been identified, a Marine Corps official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday condemned a video that apparently shows U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan men, footage that the Pentagon acknowledged did not appear to be fake.
The official added that the Marines believed the video was authentic.
The two that were identified are still part of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. That unit served in Afghanistan's Helmand province from March until September of 2011, the official said.
"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," Panetta said in a statement, adding that he had ordered the Marine Corps and the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan to investigate the incident.
"Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent," he said.
The video that surfaced a day earlier appeared to show American forces urinating on the bodies of dead bodies. It could aggravate anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan as the Obama administration hopes to end a decade-long invasion.
The video, posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on three corpses. One of them jokes: "Have a nice day, buddy." Another makes a lewd joke.
The video comes at a sensitive moment for the Obama administration, which is about to launch a flurry of diplomatic efforts it hopes will kindle peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
How the video will affect that initiative is unclear.
A senior member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council said it would undermine the peace efforts, but a Taliban spokesman said it was accustomed to such brutality and suggested the video would not affect existing discussions.
The U.S. Marine Corps has said it will investigate. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan described the acts depicted in the video as "disrespectful" and "inexplicable".
Although the U.S. military has stopped short of confirming the video is authentic, the Pentagon on Thursday came close.
"We don't have any indication that it's not authentic," Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby said.
"It certainly appears to us to be what it appears to be to you guys... troops urinating on corpses. But there's an investigation process ongoing. We need to let that work its way through to determine all the facts of the case."
The blast occurred at 10:30 pm local time (2030 GMT) inside or beside a ground floor shop on a major intersection, a police statement said Sunday.
Once the EU receives the list, it will take about 20 days to study the names of the proposed candidates and check them against available databases, one of the diplomats said.
Johnson said Thursday that Britain would invoke Article 50, the official procedure for quitting the European Union, within months of the new year.
Media reports said the Pentagon was seeking to send another 500 troops to Iraq ahead of the Mosul offensive
Iraqi FM reiterated his country's rejection of foreign interference in Yemen’s affairs
The soldier said he was caught up in a Boko Haram ambush and colleagues were killed. A bullet hit him in the leg and he hadn't seen combat since.
The vote is the brainchild of Milorad Dodik, nationalist leader of the Bosnian Serb-run entity Republika Srpska (RS).
Arcan Cetin, 20, shot and killed four women, 1 man at Washington state mall
Use of 'indiscriminate weapons' in recent offensive in Aleppo may amount to war crimes, Secretary-General says
‘Our aim is to reach a political solution before 2016 ends,” Mustafa Akinci says meeting UN chief
China-funded railway set to slash Ethiopia’s export-import costs
Around 1,000 Palestinian minors were detained by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2016
More than 15,000 demonstrated against racism and fascism in Helsinki today
Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed his deputy chief of staff, Vyacheslav Volodin, to be chairman of the new State Duma
Angela Merkel, facing backlash over her refugee policy has met with European leaders in Vienna on Saturday to explore new measures to help the continent deal with its influx of refugees