A dozen American soldiers have been charged with alleged killing of innocent Afghan civilians as a sport and collecting their fingers as trophies.
At least twelve US soldiers were accused of forming a secret “kill team” that shot and blew up civilians at random.
Five of the soldiers were charged with murdering three Afghan men in separate attacks in southern Kandahar province this year.
The three Afghan victims were shot. Two were also hit with grenades in what has proved to be one of the most serious war-crime cases to emerge from the Afghan war.
Seven other soldiers were accused of covering up the killings and assaulting another soldier who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses.
At least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and that some of them posed for photographs with the bodies, the Army Times reported.
Five soldiers — Calvin Gibbs, Jeremy Morlock, Andrew Holmes, Michael Wagnon and Adam Winfield — were also accused of murder and aggravated assault among other charges.
All of the soldiers, who face the death penalty or life imprisonment if convicted, have denied the charges.
Civilians have been the main victims of violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the country’s troubled southern and eastern provinces.