"The government of Afghanistan is deeply disturbed by a video that shows American soldiers desecrating dead bodies of three Afghans," Karzai said in a statement, referring to the Marines. "This act by American soldiers is simply inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms. We expressly ask the U.S. government to urgently investigate the video and apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty in this crime."
The Marine Corps said it is investigating the video, which surfaced online Wednesday, ABC News reported.
The video depicts four men in uniform looking around before allegedly urinating on at least three bodies. A caption states the Marines are attached to a scout sniper team with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., some of whom were deployed to Afghanistan last year and returned in September.
"Have a great day, buddy," one of the men is heard saying, apparently to a dead body.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta strongly condemned the video Thursday, The Washington Post reported.
"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," Panetta said in a statement.
Panetta's statement said the behavior seen in the video "does not reflect the standards or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold." He said Marines "found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."
Capt. Kendra N. Hardesty, a Marine Corps spokeswoman, said officials would "fully investigate" the issue but haven't been able to verify the clip's authenticity or if battalion members were involved.
"The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps," she said in a statement Wednesday.
The Post said independently identifying the source or the people in the video would be difficult.
The caption said the corpses were "dead Talibans," but it wasn't clear whether they were fighters or civilians.
In 2010, members from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division took pictures of themselves with corpses of Afghan civilians shot by a self-proclaimed "kill team" of rogue soldiers. In that case, the Army confiscated hundreds of photographs and kept them out of the public domain for months. Some later were obtained and published by Rolling Stone and the German publication Der Spiegel.