KABUL - Already tense US and NATO ties with Afghanistan were dealt another blow on Wednesday with photographs appearing in an American newspaper of US soldiers posing with the maimed bodies of dead Afghan insurgents.

Senior US officials and NATO's top commander in the country, US General John Allen, moved quickly to condemn the pictures even before they were published by the Los Angeles Times, which received the photos from another soldier.

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"The actions of the individuals photographed do not represent the policies of International Security Assistance Force or the US Army," Allen said in a statement, adding an investigation into the incident was underway.

The appearance on the LA Times website of some of the 18 pictures, taken in 2010, comes at a sensitive time in US-Afghan relations, following release of a video in January that showed four US Marines urinating on Afghan insurgent corpses.