An Australian special prosecutor has found evidence that the country’s elite forces have illegally killed 39 people in Afghanistan. This is evident from its own investigation by the armed forces into alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. On Thursday, Australian General John Angus Campbell presented the findings.
25 soldiers are said to have been involved in a total of 23 incidents. The military is for the most part of the Special Air Service Regiment, an Australian special military unit. The incidents took place between 2005 and 2016. A number of the suspected soldiers are said to still be actively serving in the armed forces.
The investigation was launched in 2016 after allegations in various media. They wrote that soldiers had killed children and unarmed men. The investigation shows that the 25 victims were prisoners, farmers or other civilians.
“To the people of Afghanistan, on behalf of the Australian military, I sincerely and without reservation apologize for crimes committed by Australian soldiers,” said General Campbell.
Campbell called the findings “shameful” and spoke of a “self-centered warrior culture” among the elite SASR regiment. The Inspector General’s report states that there was a “toxic competitive” culture in that regiment. According to General Campbell, this led to “half work and ignoring and twisting the rules”.
A special prosecutor will soon be appointed to determine if there is enough evidence to prosecute military personnel.