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Voice of Freedom :The US has condemned photographs of American soldiers apparently posing with the bodies of a suicide bomber and several dead insurgents, which Afghans and the US defence secretary warned could be used as Taliban propaganda.
The most senior commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, General John Allen, promised an investigation into the images and said the behaviour shown "represents a serious error in judgment by several soldiers who have acted out of ignorance and unfamiliarity with US army values".
US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division are shown in one of the pictures, which were published by the Los Angeles Times, posing with what appear to be the severed legs of a suicide bomber. Afghans including at least two men in police uniform are also in the shot.
Another picture shows a grinning soldier in front of the corpse of an insurgent, one of three who accidentally blew themselves up, the paper said. He has the dead man's hand on his shoulder, and a second soldier in the background appears to be manipulating the body.
The LA Times says it was handed 18 pictures by a soldier who served in Afghanistan with the division. By making them available for publication, he hoped to expose "a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops" the paper said.
Unpublished photos show two soldiers holding a dead man's hand with the middle finger raised, and "an unofficial platoon patch reading 'Zombie Hunter' next to other remains", the paper said. They were all taken in southern Zabul province, a poor area with a heavy Taliban presence, in 2010.
The US ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, also condemned the pictures, which the defence secretary, Leon Panetta, warned could be used against US forces.
"The danger is that this material could be used by the enemy to incite violence against US and Afghan service members in Afghanistan," Panetta said in a statement. "US forces in the country are taking security measures to guard against it."
Among Afghans in Kabul there was condemnation of the photographs for breaking moral codes, and concern they could be used for insurgent recruiting, but little sense of the personal outrage that followed news that US soldiers had burned copies of the Qur'an, or intentionally killed civilians.
"Making jokes with a dead body, whether he is an enemy or not, is against the culture of Afghanistan and sharia law," said Ahmad Shah Behzad, a member of parliament from western Herat province.
"It doesn't matter who is doing that, Afghan or international, they have mental problems - perhaps because they have been at war, and are filled with anger. It has no benefits for them but of course it has benefits for the terrorist groups."
There is widespread disgust among Afghans over suicide bombings, a tactic considered by many to be unIslamic, and carried out by foreign jihadis, rather than fellow Afghans.
"Dishonouring the body of a Pakistani suicide attacker is not a problem for Afghans," said Rahimullah Abdulzada, a midde-aged shopkeeper in Kabul's Taimani district, although he hastened to add that he was not speaking from a religious perspective.
"This is not the point of view of Islam, it is my point of view - why are they coming to Afghanistan to kill themselves and kill our people and destroy our homes and families? The Pakistanis have been interfering in our country for decades."
However the photos may also stir memories of past atrocities, and a sense of wider western failings in a country where violence is spreading to once peaceful areas despite the presence of tens of thousands of foreign troops, and civilian casualties have risen steady for several years.
"They have passed a red line already, they have dishonoured bodies several times," said Matihullah Ahadi, a driver who works with a non-profit organisation in Kabul.
"This is one of the reasons why people become suicide attackers, because of the mistakes of these unprofessional soldiers. The terrorists use them to brainwash their fighters."
News of the photos is also likely to travel slowly in a country where only a minority of people can read and electricity for radios, much less televisions is a luxury outside urban areas, so any public reaction will probably be delayed by days.