Australian elite soldiers killed Afghan civilians, report finds

Australian elite soldiers killed Afghan civilians, report finds
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Daily US Times: A long-awaited report of The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has found that there is “credible evidence” that Australian special forces unlawfully killed 39 people during the Afghan conflict.

The ADF has released findings from a four-year inquiry into misconduct by its forces.

The inquiry investigated fiftyseven incidents and heard from hundreds of witnesses.

ADF chief General Angus Campbell said, the investigation had uncovered a “shameful record” of a “warrior culture” by some soldiers,

He said the report said 25 Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers were involved in the killings, none of which could be “described as being in the heat of battle”.

Gen Campbell said: “None were alleged to have occurred in circumstances in which the intent of the perpetrator was unclear, confused or mistaken.”

“And every person spoken to by the inquiry thoroughly understood the law of armed conflict and the rules of engagement under which they operated.”

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani’s office said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had phoned Mr Ghani to express his “deepest sorrow” over the findings.

The Afghan president said he had been assured that Australia was committed to “ensuring justice”.

The inquiry was by the Inspector-General of the ADF and it was conducted behind closed doors, meaning few details have been reported until now.

The inquiry didn’t have the power to lay criminal charges.

Mr Morrison warned last week that the report would bring “difficult and hard news for Australians”.

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