The findings of a four-year investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan has been released today, alleging the unlawful killing of 39 people.
As part of the four-year investigation, Justice Paul Brereton investigated 57 allegations of incidents at the hands of Australian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. A total of 1 soldiers are to be referred to the Australian Federal Police in regards to their involvement.
According to General Angus Campbell, the report “found there to be credible information to substantiate 23 incidents of alleged unlawful killing of 39 people by 25 Australian Special Forces personnel, predominantly from the Special Air Service Regiment.”
Those allegedly killed were under the control of Australian forces, including prisoners, farmers and civilians.
The killings took place between 2009 and 2013, with a large majority taking place between 2012 and 2013.
Shocking, the report also detailed alleged instances of new recruits being encouraged to shoot a prisoner in order to achieve their first kill, in a horrific practice known as “blooding.”
To make matters worse, General Campbell also explained that weapons and radios were reportedly planted on the bodies in an effort to support claims that the victims were enemies, and therefore the killings weren’t unlawful.
“I have accepted all of the Inspector General’s findings and a comprehensive implementation plan is being developed to action his 143 recommendations and any additional measures necessary,” General Campbell said in a press conference today.
Campbell further added that he was aware of the rumours, but was not prepared to read the horrific allegations contained within the report.
The fate of the military personnel allegedly involved is still unknown, but General Campbell clarified that he’s not ruling out any possibilities at this stage.
In the case of some of the 39 allegedly unlawful deaths, there have been recommendations for immediate compensation to the families of those killed, however, General Campbell was unable to give a specific figure for this compensation.
Prior to the report being made public, Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a formal and personal apology to the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.