17/04/2016 8:55 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Australian Special Forces To Be Investigated In 'Independent' ADF Probe

Ian Hitchcock via Getty Images
TOWNSVILLE, QUEENSLAND: An Australian RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) member checks his maps during air operations on April 6, 2016 in Townsville, Australia. Exercise Black Dagger is a field training exercise held at RAAF Base Townsville and surrounding airspace from 1 to 15 April. The exercise aims to further enhance military co-operation with coalition partners and provides essential training to ensure Army and Air Force personnel are capable of coordinating close air support to soldiers on the ground. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

An independent review will investigate a number of troubling stories about the conduct of Australia's elite special forces in Afghanistan, the Chief of Army says.

Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell said a "range of unsubstantiated, third-person, hearsay stories" warranted "deeper consideration, but independently", according to Fairfax Media.

Inspector General of the ADF, former naval officer Geoff Earley, will reportedly lead the investigation.

General Campbell has not said whether the claims included unlawful killings, but Fairfax reported that military sources indicated the stories involved fatalities.

The review of special operations, including the famed Special Air Service Regiment, is said to focus on claims about incidents on overseas operations going back 15 years.

It is the first broad review of special forces since 2001 when the current command structure was established.

A number of high-profile incidents remains outstanding, including the April 2013 incident in which SAS soldiers removed the hands of dead Taliban fighters for identification purposes.