KABUL - Photos of US soldiers abusing corpses have invited a storm of anger in Afghanistan, raising questions about the morality and ethics of foreign troops in the Asian Muslim country.
The US soldiers who posed for pictures with the Afghan insurgents show that they didn't come to Afghanistan to deliver services for us, Obaidullah, 20, an unemployed high-school graduate in Kabul, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Instead such actions will force Afghans to rise against them.
Photos were published by the Los Angeles Times showing US soldiers posing with maimed bodies of Taliban fighters.
One of the photos showed a US paratrooper posed next to an unofficial patch placed beside a body that read "Zombie Hunter".
Another photos showed soldiers posed with Afghan police holding the severed legs of a dead Taliban fighter.
Two soldiers in another photo held a dead fighter's hand with the middle finger raised.
"It is such a disgusting act to take photos with body parts and then share it with others," Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a statement.
He warned that similar incidents of an odious nature in the past sparked angry reactions from Afghans, including violent protests that left dozens dead.
In January, American soldiers were shown urinating at the dead bodies of Taliban fighters, sparking a storm of anger and condemnations from across the Muslim world.
US troops were also engulfed in another crisis after the burning of copies of the Noble Qur'an at a US military base near Kabul in February.
At least 30 people were killed in violent protests against the burning of the Muslim holy book.
"In the last 11 years since the Americans invaded Afghanistan, they have repeatedly done inhumane things which are not acceptable to anyone in the world," the Taliban said in a statement.
Analysts say that the corpse abuses raise questions about the morality and ethics of the US troops.
We have had too many of these incidents recently where there's been questions about US troops morality and ethics, Candace Rondeaux of the International Crisis Group told AFP.
I think it is becoming increasingly clear, for the US soldiers in particular who've been through so many tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, that they are extremely worn down and that the morale internally is not so fantastic.
The analyst, however, believes that the abuses will not necessarily trigger a new wave of protests in the country.
However, time will tell, she said.
I think we have to wait until after Friday prayers to really see what kind of impact these images have had.
There was some anger on the streets of Kabul, but there were not mass anti-US protests.
Seeking to avoid new public anger in Afghanistan, the Obama administration apologized for the body abuse.
"The conduct depicted in those photos is reprehensible," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
The photos could stir up more anti-Western sentiment in Afghanistan as NATO combat troops look to exit the country in 2014 and strengthen fragile security.
Such incidents have complicated US efforts to negotiate a strategic partnership agreement to define its presence once most foreign combat troops pull out by the end of 2014.
"That behavior that was depicted in those photos absolutely violates both our regulations and more importantly our core values," US defense secretary Leon Panetta told a news conference.
He said the photos were being investigated by the US military.
"I know that war is ugly and it's violent and I know that young people sometimes caught up in the moment make some very foolish decisions," he said."I'm not excusing that behavior, but neither do I want these images to bring further injury to our people and to our relationship with the Afghan people."