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Pentagon worries about violent reaction to body part photos

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The Pentagon said Friday that officials are concerned about violence by Afghan citizens upset by recently published photographs showing U.S. soldiers posing with body parts of dead militants.

So far there have been no reports of violence stemming from the Los Angeles Times' publication of the two-year-old photos, the Pentagon said, defending its decision to ask the newspaper to refrain from publishing the pictures.

"Our concern was that photos like these can be very provocative," said Pentagon press secretary George Little. "Our position is the story could have run without them."

Mr. Little noted that in previous, similar incidents, it has taken several days for violent reaction to occur in Afghanistan.

"We were rightly duly concerned about the impact these images would have on [Afghans]," said Navy Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

Five coalition member deaths were linked to the publishing of Marines urinating on dead insurgents' bodies, Capt. Kirby added.

There have been a surge of incidents this year where Afghan national security forces have turned their weapons against U.S. troops training them.

A database kept by the New America Foundation has tracked 17 coalition members killed this so far in 2012.

According to the database, there have been 35 attacks recorded since the beginning of the war, resulting in 82 coalition troops killed, and 55 wounded. There were 12 incidents in 2011. Ten have occurred so far this year.

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