BEIRUT

Middle East

7 British Marines arrested on suspicion of murder

This photo taken on October 6, 2012 shows two pick-up trucks making their way west on the main road connecting the capital of Faizabad in the province of Badakhshan with smaller towns to the east. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT

LONDON: Experts say the arrests of seven Royal Marines on suspicion of murdering an insurgent could have damaging consequences for the British presence in Afghanistan.

Britain's defense ministry says the arrests underline their commitment to having British soldiers act properly under the rules of engagement. But military experts said Friday the case is extremely unusual as the Royal Marines are known for having a high level of training that would include instruction on acting with restraint.

Michael Clarke of the Royal United Services Institute says the spirit of the unit usually prevents misbehavior, and that having seven people involved in a single case will heighten the political embarrassment.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi said the Afghan government welcomed the arrests because it means that the law is being implemented.

 

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