The video emerged at a delicate time in relations among the United States, Afghanistan's elected government, and the Taliban insurgency. The United States is trying to foster peace talks between President Hamid Karzai's government and the Taliban. Recent statements by senior U.S. and Taliban officials suggest the possibility of trust-building measures in the near future, such as the opening of the Taliban office and the transfer of some Taliban detainees out of the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Initially, there were concerns that outrage over the situation would spiral into a scandal like the one in 2004 over the release of photos showing a group of U.S. military police abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
But Afghan officials and others said quick response by all sides had helped contain the damage.
"As all three sides - the U.S., the Afghan government, and the Taliban - have all condemned this act, I'm hopeful that this will not have any effect on the peace process," Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a member of the peace council and the Taliban's former envoy to the United Nations, said Saturday.
"Reconciliation is a big change for the people of Afghanistan, and it won't be affected by the actions of individuals like those in the video," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Friday. "We are focused on the bigger picture, and, for that, we have to avoid small things."
Andrew Exum, who was a civilian adviser to former Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, said: "The plan for transition and the negotiations are going forward, and it is hard to imagine this video changing any of that."