A senior Taliban spokesman said there had been hundreds of similar abuses carried out by foreign forces in Afghanistan over the last ten years, but this latest one would not sabotage early stage negotiations between the movement’s leadership and the US State Department. Talks are expected to begin soon on possible Taliban prisoner releases and other ‘confidence building measures’ to encourage full negotiations to end the conflict.

“This is yet another barbaric act by foreign forces. Over the past 10 years there have been hundreds of similar cases that were not revealed.We strongly condemn this,” said Zabihullah Mujahed. But he added: “I don’t think this new issue will affect negotiations which at this stage are mainly about prisoner exchange.” But fears remain that the video images could yet provoke anti-US protests and attacks on Western installations in the country after they were broadcast on the local television station Tolo.