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Caught On Film: US Troops Burning Bodies

based on a report by Tom Allard, Sydney Morning Herald. October 19, 2005

US soldiers in Afghanistan burnt the bodies of dead Taliban and taunted their opponents about the corpses, in an act deeply offensive to Muslims and in breach of the Geneva conventions.

An investigation by SBS's Dateline program, to be aired tonight, filmed the burning of the bodies. It also filmed a US Army psychological operations unit broadcasting a message boasting of the burnt corpses into a village believed to be harbouring Taliban.

According to an SBS translation of the message, delivered in the local language, the soldiers accused Taliban fighters near Kandahar of being "cowardly dogs". "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be," the message reportedly said.

"You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."

The burning of a body is a deep insult to Muslims. Islam requires burial within 24 hours.

US soldiers said they burnt the bodies for hygiene reasons but two reporters, Stephen Dupont and John Martinkus, said the explanation was unbelievable, given they were in an isolated area.

The incident is reminiscent of the psychological techniques used in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

You have been reading excerpts from "Film rolls as troops burn dead" by Tom Allard. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/d7jj7. Thanks to . We visit often and we hope you will too.

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