Australian special forces suspected of 39 unlawful killings in Afghanistan - general

By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's top general apologised to Afghanistan on Thursday as he released a report into suspected war crimes carried out by Australian special forces which included evidence of 39 unlawful killings by 25 soldiers in 23 incidents.

Reuters November 19, 2020 07:11:23 IST
Australian special forces suspected of 39 unlawful killings in Afghanistan - general

Australian special forces suspected of 39 unlawful killings in Afghanistan  general

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's top general apologised to Afghanistan on Thursday as he released a report into suspected war crimes carried out by Australian special forces which included evidence of 39 unlawful killings by 25 soldiers in 23 incidents.

Detailing the findings of the long-awaited inquiry into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, General Angus John Campbell said there was evidence of killings outside the "heat of battle".

The Inspector General "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 (SAS)," Campbell told reporters in Canberra.

Some of those allegedly responsible were still serving in Australia's military, he added.

The killings would be referred to a soon-to-be appointed special investigator to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ahead of the report's release, a source familiar with the conversation said.

Morrison last week warned the report would contain "difficult and hard news for Australians".

Australia has had troops in Afghanistan since 2002 as part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Taliban militia.

(Reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Stephen Coates)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.