The Australian Defence Force (ADF) accused many Australian elite soldiers of unlawfully killing 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians during the Afghan war, the military’s official report revealed on Thursday.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) accused Australian elite soldiers of unlawfully killing 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians during the Afghan war, the military’s official report revealed on Thursday.
The four-year war crimes inquiry, conducted by Maj. Gen. Justice Paul Brereton, recommended that 36 incidents involving 19 current and former special forces soldiers to be referred for potential criminal prosecution for the murder of the Afghan locals.
General Angus John Campbell, the chief of the Australian Defense Force, detailed the findings of the long-awaited inquiry into the misconduct of the members of the elite forces in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
According to Campbell, there is sufficient credible evidence showing that 25 Australian Special Forces personnel are responsible for 39 unlawful killings in 23 separate incidents.
He added that none of the unlawful killings happened in the “heat of battle”.
The military report also indicated that some patrol commanders required junior soldiers to murder prisoners to achieve a first kill, in a process known as “blooding”.
The murdered individuals, including prisoners, farmers and other Afghan locals, were captured by the special forces soldiers before they got killed.
“These findings allege the most serious breaches of military conduct and professional values,” Campbell said during an interview. “The unlawful killing, of civilians and prisoners, is never acceptable.”
The Australian military general “sincerely and unreservedly” apologized to the people of Afghanistan for the alleged misconduct of the elite soldiers.
“It would have devastated the lives of Afghan families and communities, causing immeasurable pain and suffering,” he added.
Campbell said that he had accepted the 143 recommendations cited in the inquiry.
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