Australia’s defence forces have sent notices of likely dismissal to 10 special forces soldiers following last week’s damning report on the murder of 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners.

They are suspected of being accessories or witnesses to the killings, or of being dishonest in testifying.

They are separate from the 19 Special Air Service troops who could face prosecution for the murders.

Australia’s prime minister and top military commander have apologised.

Afghanistan called the murders unforgiveable but welcomed last week’s report as a step towards justice.

Two more soldiers are reported to have been sacked already. They are reported by Australian media to have been witnesses to the killing of an Afghan man in a field, a case that was the subject of a TV investigation.

The report blamed the murders of “prisoners, farmers or civilians” in 2009-13 on an unchecked “warrior culture” among some soldiers.

It said 25 special forces soldiers had taken part in unlawful killings directly or as “accessories”, across 23 separate incidents. It recommended that 36 incidents in total be investigated by federal police.

Australian Defence Force chief Gen Angus Campbell said none of the incidents could be “described as being in the heat of battle”.