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Marines Worried About Desecration Video's Impact On Afghan Operations

NPR's Tom Bowman

The uproar over a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan continues, and as we reported yesterday investigators believe they've identified two of the men and are vowing that if they're guilty of what seems to have happened they will be brought to justice.

This morning, NPR's Tom Bowman tells our Newscast desk that Marine officers he has spoken with are "worried about what impact the video will have on their operations" in Afghanistan. Helmand Province, where the incident allegedly occurred, "has seen a decrease in violence over the past year," Tom says, and the officers are concerned about an increase in violence there now because of outrage over the video.

Meanwhile, though a Taliban spokesman, as we also reported Thursday, has said that the video won't affect nascent efforts to start peace talks, on last night's PBS NewsHour foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius of The Washington Post warned that:

"These images will persist. They'll persist, persist on the Internet and in people's minds for a very long time. And they undo so much work that had been done to try to say we are a benign presence."

Also: NPR's Corey Flintoff writes about how "viral images" have become "the military's recurring nightmare."

As we've said before, the video is too graphic for us to post. It is easy to find on the Web, however, including at TMZ.com.

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. All Four Reportedly Identified:

"CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports all four Marines in the video have now been identified, and charges could be brought within hours."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.