The Pentagon is playing damage control again after photos were made public purportedly showing U.S. troops posing with dead bodies.
The 2010 pictures were published in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, depicting members of the 82nd Airborne Division and Afghan police posing beside the severed legs of a suicide bomber.
The newspaper said the same unit was later sent to investigate the remains of three insurgents believed to have accidentally blown themselves up. They posed again for a photo on the scene.
That picture shows what appears to be the hand of one of the dead insurgents resting on a U.S. soldier's shoulder as he smiles.
"Anyone found responsible for this inhuman conduct will be held accountable in accordance with our military justice system," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
The Times claimed a fellow soldier leaked the 18 photos to the paper to show a breakdown in leadership.
The Pentagon asked the newspaper not to publish the photographs for fear they would incite further violence in Afghanistan.
Allen said the U.S. military will launch an investigation and "collaborate with Afghan authorities and carefully examine the facts and circumstances shown in these photos."
The unsettling photos add to the list of recent embarrassment for the U.S. military and struggles in Afghanistan.
In January, a video was revealed showing U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. A month later, the military faced scrutiny and attacks in Afghanistan after accidentally desecrating Korans.
Now, several U.S. Marines are being linked to a prostitution scandal involving members of the Secret Service.