Over this summer, 12 U.S. soldiers were charged for a variety of crimes in what military authorities believe was a conspiracy to murder Afghan civilians and cover it up, along with charges they used hashish, mutilated corpses and kept grisly souvenirs.
Five soldiers face murder charges, while seven others are charged with participating in a coverup. All of the men were members of a 2nd Infantry Division brigade operating near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010.
According to the military documents, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs and four other soldiers were involved in throwing grenades at civilians and then shooting them in separate incidents. Three Afghan men died.
Authorities allege Gibbs kept finger bones, leg bones and a tooth from Afghan corpses. Another soldier, Spc. Michael Gagnon II, allegedly kept a skull from a corpse, according to charging documents. Several soldiers are charged with taking pictures of the corpses, and one – Spc. Corey Moore – with stabbing a corpse.
Five soldiers were originally arrested in June and seven others were charged last month.