The investigation alleges that Australian troops were involved in the unlawful killing of 39 civilians or prisoners in Afghanistan, amid a “warrior culture”.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday in Canberra, Australian Defense Force Chief General Angus Campbell “sincerely and wholeheartedly” apologized to the Afghan people for the conduct alleged in the report.
“It would have devastated the lives of Afghan families and communities, causing immeasurable suffering and suffering,” he said.
The Australian Defense Force recommends that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigate 19 Australian Special Forces personnel into 36 suspected war crimes, including murders and cruel treatment of non-combatants in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2013.
In March 2016, an investigation was opened by the Australian Defense Forces, under the direction of Major General Paul Brereton, to investigate allegations that Australian Special Forces had “(violated) the law of armed conflict in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016. ”
Australia’s role in the war in Afghanistan was divided into two distinct phases: Operation Slipper from 2001 to 2014, after which Afghan security forces resumed most of the fighting, and then the ongoing Operation Highroad, which started in 2015.
More than 26,000 Australian soldiers served in Afghanistan during Operation Slipper, 41 of whom died fighting in the war. According to the Department of Defense website, around 80 members of the Australian Defense Force are still in Afghanistan, mainly involved in support and training.
Hours before the release of the bomb report, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison contacted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and expressed “his deepest sorrow” at the alleged misconduct of Australian troops in Afghanistan, according to a statement released by the Afghan government.
“(Morrison) assured the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan of investigations and to ensure justice,” the statement said. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne also sent a letter apologizing, the Afghan government said.
Nishank Motwani, deputy director of the Afghanistan Research and Assessment Unit in Kabul, said the investigation report was likely to leave Afghans feeling “a sense of hopelessness, justification and anger in the face. that foreign forces can so easily get away with a murder in cold blood ”.
“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 more than 100,000 civilians in the past decade,” he said, adding that any Australian personnel remaining in Afghanistan could be at risk of reprisals.