A dozen American soldiers in Afghanistan are being charged in connection with an alleged string of murders of Afghani civilians "for sport." Investigators say the soldiers killed random civilians, and took their fingers as souvenirs.

The Guardian reports that the soldiers' actions in Kandahar came to light when another soldier in their platoon told his superiors what was going on—after his fellow soldiers had already beaten him up for snitching on them for smoking hash. It turns out that that was the least of their sins.

Investigators said[Staff Sgt. Calvin] Gibbs, 25, hatched a plan with another soldier, Jeremy Morlock, 22, and other members of the unit to form a "kill team". While on patrol over the following months they allegedly killed at least three Afghan civilians. According to the charge sheet, the first target was Gul Mudin, who was killed "by means of throwing a fragmentary grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle", when the patrol entered the village of La Mohammed Kalay in January.

A second civilian was shot and killed, and a third was shot and blown up with a grenade. Five soldiers are now accused of murder and aggravated assault, and another seven are charged with covering it up.

[Guardian UK. Pic: AP]