British soldier 'collected fingers of Taliban dead'


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The Independent Online

An allegation that a British soldier collected the fingers of Taliban dead as war trophies is under investigation by the Ministry of Defence.

The soldier, though to be with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, is said to have taken the fingers during a tour of duty from September 2010 to April this year.

The Ministry's Special Investigation Branch is looking into the claim, but an MoD spokesman would only say: "This is a very serious allegation and it would be wrong for us to comment. An investigation is ongoing." However, Douglas Young, executive chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, said: "The alleged behaviour is totally out of kilter with the ethos of the armed forces. British soldiers don't want anyone serving alongside them who has been involved in such irrational, unprofessional behaviour as is alleged."

Previously, 12 members of an American unit serving in Afghanistan were charged after it emerged some of them had taken trophies such as fingers. A Gurkha soldier was also reprimanded after hacking off the head of a Taliban commander when told he had to provide proof of the kill.