The investigation claims that Australian troops were involved in the illegal killing of 39 civilians or prisoners in Afghanistan, amid a “culture of fighters”.
Speaking at a news conference Thursday in Canberra, Australian Defense Forces Chief General Angus Campbell “sincerely and unreservedly” apologized to the people of Afghanistan for the alleged behavior in the report.
“It would have ruined the lives of Afghan families and communities, causing immeasurable pain and suffering,” he said.
The Australian Defense Force is recommending that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigate 19 individuals from the Australian Special Forces over 36 alleged war crimes, including the killing and cruel treatment of non-combatants in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2013.
“Those allegedly killed illegally were … prisoners, farmers or other civilians. This embarrassing record includes alleged cases in which young patrol members were forced to shoot a prisoner to reach “the first murder of that soldier, in a horrific process known as bloodshed,” Campbell said.
The report presents what it says is “credible information” that guns or hand radios were sometimes allegedly placed by a body by Australian forces in order to portray that the person had been killed in action.
Campbell said he had accepted all the recommendations of the investigation.
Australia’s role in the war in Afghanistan was divided into two separate phases – Operation Slipper from 2001 to 2014, after which Afghan security forces took over most of the fighting and then the ongoing Operation Highway, which began in 2015.
More than 26,000 Australian soldiers served in Afghanistan during Operation Slipper, 41 of whom died while fighting in the war. According to the Department of Defense website there are still about 80 personnel from the Australian Defense Forces in Afghanistan, mostly involved in support and training.
“(Morrison) assured the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan of the investigation and the provision of justice,” the statement said. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne also sent a letter extending her apologies, the Afghan government said.
Nishank Motwani, deputy director of the Afghanistan Search and Evaluation Unit in Kabul, said the investigation report was likely to leave Afghans feeling “a sense of despair, excuse and anger that foreign forces can leave so easily with bloody killings.” cold”.
“The report will allow the Taliban to blame foreign forces for the suffering of Afghan civilians even though Taliban fighters are responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 civilians in the last decade,” he said, adding that any Australian personnel left in Afghanistan could be under threat of retaliation.
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