Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is apologizing for newly published photos depicting American soldiers posing with body parts of Afghans militants.
At a news conference after a meeting of NATO foreign and defense ministers in Brussels, Panetta told reporters he "strongly condemns" the behavior exhibited in the photos and encouraged a strong investigation, which is already under way. But Panetta also said that in war, young people "can make foolish decisions." He said he is not excusing the behavior but does not want the incident to bring more harm to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The NATO meeting of foreign and defense ministers is to discuss the Afghan war in preparation for an alliance summit meeting to be hosted next month in Chicago by President Barack Obama.