U.S. Central Command is investigating a video that appears to show a U.S. service member firing a shotgun at a civilian Afghan truck from a combat vehicle.
The brief video clip is reportedly part of a three minute, nine second video of U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan firing various weapons.
Numerous news organizations have published the clip, which appears to be taken with a helmet camera and shows the point of view of an individual in a tactical uniform looking down the barrel of a high-end, semi-automatic tactical shotgun.
An anonymous user recently uploaded the video to YouTube under the title "Happy Few Ordnance Symphony," then quickly removed it, Politico reported.
The first part of the six-second clip moves fast and, at first glance, it's difficult to determine what exactly is happening and the type of weapon involved. The footage shows the individual riding in the back of what appears to be a combat vehicle and firing into the driver's-side window of a large civilian truck as the combat vehicle passes.
Then the video offers a slow-motion view of the incident, which reveals there is very little, if any, recoil from the shotgun and no shell ejecting from the weapon. Even so, the only way to discern the weapon fired is by watching the gaping hole shatter in the civilian truck's window.
The clip doesn't indicate whether the driver of the Afghan truck suffered injuries or was killed in the incident.
Assuming that the video is real, the individual could have fired a non-lethal shotgun round. That would explain why the semi-auto shotgun doesn't cycle.
At a Pentagon briefing Thursday, officials said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford had been briefed on what the video purports to show.
"The secretary is aware of the video," said Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokesperson.
At the same briefing, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the Pentagon's Joint Staff director, said, "We actually have very good procedures" for investigating allegations of abuses by U.S. troops against civilians.
"We take these allegations very seriously," McKenzie said, and "CentCom is looking at it very hard. This is not something we look at lightly and it will receive all the serious attention it deserves
-- Richard Sisk contributed to this report.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.