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Australian elite soldiers are said to have killed at least 39 prisoners or civilians, according to the investigation report. They are accused of having an “egocentric warrior culture”. The army chief is now addressing the Afghan people. According to an investigation report, Australian soldiers have committed war crimes while serving in Afghanistan. 25 members of a special unit had “illegally” killed at least 39 prisoners or civilians, said the chief of the Australian Defense Forces, Angus Campbell, now in Canberra, when he published a report on the behavior of Australian soldiers in the war in Afghanistan. Such a “shameful balance sheet” of an “egocentric warrior culture” was revealed. The results indicated “most serious violations” of military behavior and professional values. For the report, the Inspector General of the Australian Military followed up on indications of unlawful killings and violations of international martial law between 2005 and 2016. More than 330 witnesses were heard and investigations opened in at least 55 cases.
The report outlines a culture of “toxic competitive thinking” within the task force that has resulted in some soldiers shortening procedures, ignoring and bowing to rules, Campbell said. None of these “unlawful killings” happened “in the heat of the moment”. “Every person spoken to during this investigation understood the international law of war and the rules of engagement under which they were deployed.”
Suspicious soldiers are to be prosecuted
“On behalf of the Australian Armed Forces, I sincerely and unreservedly apologize to the Afghan people for any wrongdoing,” said Campbell. He spoke out in favor of prosecuting the suspected soldiers for war crimes. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced last week that a special investigator would investigate alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan and bring those responsible to justice. He had prepared his compatriots for revelations that were difficult to cope with — not just for active soldiers and veterans. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Australia sent more than 26,000 soldiers to Afghanistan to fight alongside the US Army against Islamist militias such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. In 2013, Australia withdrew its troops from the country. Since then, serious accusations have been raised against elite Australian soldiers. Among other things, Australian troops were accused of killing a six-year-old in a house search.