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Afghan President Says Scott Morrison Called to Express Grief Before Publication of War Crimes Report

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The Afghan president says Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed “his deepest regret at the misconduct by some Australian troops” in his country as the Defense prepares to release a long-awaited report on alleged war crimes.

A statement from Afghanistan’s presidential palace said Mr Morrison had called President Ashraf Ghani overnight and told him that future investigations into the allegations would ensure justice.

This morning, Chief of Defense General Angus Campbell will release the long-awaited findings from an investigation by the ADF Inspector General (IGADF) into the conduct of Australian special forces during the war in Afghanistan.

He has examined allegations of extrajudicial killings and other possible violations of the laws of armed conflict committed primarily by elite soldiers during their long deployment.

According to the palace, Foreign Minister Marise Payne also wrote to her Afghan counterpart to apologize for “the misconduct identified by the investigation, by some Australian military personnel in Afghanistan”.

An excerpt from Senator Payne’s letter issued by the President of Afghanistan states: “Australian Minister of Defense Sen. Hon Linda Reynolds CSC and Chief of Defense General Angus Campbell AO DSC public afterwards. “

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The Prime Minister’s Office did not mention an apology or an expression of grief in the reading of the summons.

“The prime minister called on President Ghani yesterday to announce the publication of the report today,” he said.

“[The Prime Minister] said the report contained some disturbing allegations and the Australian Government was taking those allegations very seriously.

“President Ghani appreciated the direct contact, noted many Australians who had served with distinction in Afghanistan and said he was counting on the Australian justice system to pursue these issues.”

Last week, Mr Morrison said the report included allegations of “disturbing behavior” by troops and would urge Australia to face some “brutal truths” when it was released.

In response to the report, the Government will establish an Office of Special Investigators to review any criminal charges raised and, where appropriate, refer cuts to the Director of Commonwealth Public Prosecutions for consideration.

He also announced the creation of a new panel which will lead to cultural change within the Australian SAS Regiments and Commandos.

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