28 Aug 2012

Troops punished over Koran burning, urination video

9:36 pm on 28 August 2012

Nine American servicemen are to be disciplined for two incidents that provoked outrage in Afghanistan earlier this year.

The undisclosed punishments for burning copies of the Koran and desecrating the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents may involve demotions or loss of pay, but fall short of criminal charges demanded by many Afghans including the government, the BBC reports.

A US military investigation found that up to 100 religious texts were burned and 53 damaged Korans were recovered from the incinerator.

The military says the six soldiers involved couldn't identify the books as sacred and had no malicious intent to disrespect Islam. They are four officers and two non-commissioned officers.

The act sparked rioting that claimed at least 30 lives and saw two American troops shot dead. It has been credited for undermining trust between Afghan and US forces.

The investigation's findings came on the same day the US Marine Corps announced its punishment for three servicemen who took part in a video in which the bodies of dead Taliban fighters were urinated on.

Three servicemen pleaded guilty: one to "urinating on the body of a deceased Taliban soldier", another to posing for a photo with human casualties, and a third for lying to investigators.

Their identities have not been revealed and the Marine Corps said it would provide details of disciplinary actions against them at a later date.