Rolling Stone has published a trove of grisly photos from a now infamous case of a small group of U.S. soldiers who allegedly murdered Afghan civilians early last year.
This case made headlines last summer when the Army charged five soldiers in the murders of three unarmed Afghan civilians. In a particularly morbid twist, the alleged ringleader in that case, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, is accused of severing the fingers off at least one of the corpses and keeping the digits as war trophies.
The Army found out about the murders last May, when one member of the unit told investigators about the killings and alleged drug use among his fellow soldiers. The troops served in B Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Last week, one of the soldiers, Spc. Jeremy Morlock, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the killings. He is expected to testify against several others, including Gibbs.
At least according to the Army, this was a case of Gibbs and a small band of comrades going rogue and murdering civilians in cold blood. The Army says Gibbs devised cover stories and used so-called drop weapons to cover his tracks after shooting unarmed civilians or blowing them up with grenades.
Watch for the headlines to change, however, as the case progresses against Gibbs and the others. The press will start to ask tough questions about how superior officers managed the unit, and whether failed leadership might have contributed to what happened in Afghanistan.