Australian troops illegally killed 39 Afghans, military report says

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A shocking Australian war crimes military report found evidence that Australian elite troops unlawfully killed 39 Afghan prisoners, farmers and civilians.Australian Defense Force Chief General Angus Campbell said on Thursday the shameful death toll included suspected cases in which new members of the patrol would shoot a prisoner in order to carry out their first murder in a practice known as ” blood “. He said the soldiers would then plant weapons and radios to support false claims that the prisoners were enemies killed in action.

Campbell said the illegal killings began in 2009, with the majority occurring in 2012 and 2013. He said some members of the Special Air Service encouraged “a self-centered warrior culture.”

He said the report recommended 19 soldiers be investigated by police for possible charges, including murder.

The chief was announcing the findings of a four-year investigation by Paul Brereton, a judge who was asked to look into the allegations and interviewed more than 400 witnesses and reviewed thousands of pages of documents.

Parts redacted from report by Inspector General of Australian Defense Forces investigation into Afghanistan. (AAP Image / Lukas Coch / Reuters)

“To the people of Afghanistan, on behalf of the Australian Defense Force, I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize for any wrongdoing by Australian soldiers,” said Campbell.

He said he spoke directly to his Afghan military counterpart to express his remorse.

“Such alleged behavior has deeply disrespected the trust placed in us by the Afghan people who asked us to come to their country to help them,” said Campbell. “It would have devastated the lives of Afghan families and communities, causing immeasurable pain and suffering. And that would have jeopardized our mission and the security of our Afghan partners and the coalition. “

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