Australia alleges military carried out unlawful killings in Afghanistan

Australia alleges military carried out unlawful killings in Afghanistan

The investigators heard testimony that deliberate efforts were made to hide unlawful actions, from false statements on official reports to "throwdown" items - foreign-made weapons and gear that could not easily be traced back to Australian forces - planted on the bodies of the dead to make it appear they were killed in battle.

Two of the incidents also involved conduct that could be classified as the war crime of "cruel treatment".

The report further specified that some patrol commanders, who were treated as "demigods", required junior soldiers to shoot prisoners to achieve their first kill.

All the victims were either non-combatants or were no longer combatants.

In response to the report, Reynolds revealed she had discussed disbanding the Special Air Service Regiment's second squadron with the chief of the army over a culture that contributed to criminal conduct, although she urged Australians not to judge the entire military for one section's behavior.

He said special forces operators should pride themselves on being model professional soldiers. "It was part of a sick culture that essentially treated Afghans living in these contested areas as if they were all unsafe criminals - even the children - or simply as not human".

Commenting for the first time publicly on the report that found that Australia's special forces killed 39 civilians in Afghanistan illegally, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday said the findings are "terribly disturbing".

Campbell said soldiers had also planted weapons and radios to support false claims the prisoners were enemies killed in action. Grossman added that there has been a similar probe in Britain that was never publicized.

Australia's defence minister said she was "physically ill" after reading the findings of the investigation.

Mohammad Isaaq Faiaz, a shi'ite imam, said the alleged perperators "should be brought to justice in Australia, and the affected families of those martyred must be paid with the ransom".

Farhadi claimed abuses by the USA -led coalition forces started being reported to Afghan leaders soon after the Taliban were overthrown by the US -led coalition in 2001. He called for an immediate stop but Farhadi said Karzai "was quickly scolded as a non-team player by the US and the coalition". In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) gave the OK to begin an investigation into war crimes that may have been committed by USA soldiers and others in the war. Albeit the acts concern only a small percentage of the Australian troops involved in Afghanistan, Morrison expressed his concern over the mental health of other Australian troops involved in the war.

"It is very sad to know that this kind of crimes has happened in Afghanistan", said Samar.

"Ultimately, I'm going to be held to account to make sure that this report is dealt with thoroughly and I'm held to account also for my duty and my performance in the Middle East as the commander in the Middle East in 2011", he said.

Following the report, up to 19 serving and formers soldiers - mostly from SAS - will face criminal investigations and could potentially lose their medals.

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