U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan have launched an investigation into video footage that appears to show an American service member firing into the cab of a civilian truck as the two vehicles pass on a road in Afghanistan.
In the video, the truck doesn’t appear to act aggressively and at first glance, it appears that the troops in the video have broken the rules of engagement, which could set back the alliance between US and Afghan forces. The soldiers in question could also face disciplinary action as well.
The shooting briefly appears during a gritty montage of combat footage allegedly recorded by U.S. troops battling the Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate. An anonymous user recently uploaded the video to YouTube under the title “Happy Few Ordnance Symphony,” then quickly removed it.
US Central Command issued a strong statement condemning the video.
“The video in question is not official, not authorized and does not represent the professionalism of the service members of U.S. Central Command.
“We are conducting an investigation into this video, and will take appropriate actions as a result of this investigation,” it added.
The clip in question shows a military vehicle approaching a truck with a white cab and black cargo cabin, of the type Afghans often call “Jingle trucks.” Military sources identified the first vehicle to POLITICO as a version of the M-ATV armored vehicle specially outfitted for special operations forces.
The clip is filmed from the perspective of an individual armed with a shotgun who is standing in a rear hatch of the armored vehicle.
As the armored vehicle comes alongside the truck, the individual lowers his military-style shotgun and appears to fire into the truck’s driver-side window, causing the glass to shatter.
Central Command is taking the investigation seriously and several experienced Special Operations veterans have watched the video and agree that the vehicle, the uniforms, and weapons are consistent in what one would find during a SOF operation.
The military appears to believe the video is valid and they’re not happy with what it is depicting.
“I have reviewed the video and I am disappointed and also concerned that the American people, our Coalition partners, the Afghan government, and the Afghan people will believe that American service members are callous and indifferent to the horrors of war or the suffering of innocent people trapped in conflict,” Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of Central Command added in a statement Wednesday.
“I can assure you that this video does not represent the professionalism or humanity of the men and women of U.S. Central Command. We reject the unprofessional and callous message this video conveys.”
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