Twelve US soldiers, a ‘rogue infantry unit run amok’, went on a killing spree of Afghan civilians taking grisly trophies are facing court martial and prison time.

“It’s the right thing to do and I’m going to do it,” said Robert Stevens on Wednesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, when asked by the presiding officer why he pleaded guilty to charges.

He will serve his nine months at a detention facility – without pay – and will be demoted to E-1 private, the lowest rank in the army. Stevens will be allowed to stay in the military.

Stevens, 25, admitted opening fire on two Afghan men for no apparent reason, saying he and other soldiers were acting on orders from a squad leader during a patrol in March in Kandahar.

Five of the 12 soldiers named in the case are accused of premeditated murder in the most serious prosecution of alleged atrocities by US military personnel since the war began in late 2001.

At least two of the five are alleged to have collected severed fingers and other human remains as war trophies in Afghanistan and taking photos with corpses.

The five soldiers charged with murder are Calvin Gibbs, Adam Winfield, Jeremy Morlock and Michael Wagon, Andrew Holmes. The unit also tried to destroy evidence and lie about drug use in the unit.

[photo AFP]