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Publish Date : Saturday 2 September 2017 - 11:46
Australia investigates alleged war crimes by soldiers in Afghanistan
A file photo of Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan
A file photo of Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan
Islam Times - Australia’s military watchdog has launched a probe into reports of possible war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan over the past years.
The office of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defense Force made the announcement in a statement on Friday, saying that it was conducting an inquiry “into rumors of possible breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict” by Australian troops in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.

“The inquiry would like anyone who has information regarding possible breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict by Australian forces in Afghanistan, or rumors of them, to contact the inquiry,” the statement read.

New South Wales Supreme Court and Army Reserve officer Judge Paul Brereton made a public plea for further information and asked for anyone with relevant information to come forward.

“{While the inquiry has already spoken to many sources, we would like to hear from anyone else who has any relevant information,” Major-General Brereton said. “Whether you saw something yourself, or heard others talking about it, we would like you to contact us.”

Brereton, who is in charge of the inquiries, said, “Arrangements can be made for information to be received face-to-face,” and promised that the identity of people providing information would be kept confidential.

In July, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on an alleged cover-up of the killing of an Afghan boy in Kandahar Province in 2012 as well as hundreds of pages of secret defense force documents leaked concerning the secretive operations of Australia’s Special Forces.

Leaked documents also reported the deaths of an Afghan man and his six-year-old boy during a raid on a house in September 2013. Australian troops, who were looking for a target thought to be a Taliban member, allegedly shot and killed the child, who was hidden in blankets near the target, who was also killed.

The Australian Federal Police also investigated another 2013 incident in which Australian troops shot dead an Afghan man and woman riding a motorcycle.

In May, Australia sent an additional 30 troops to Afghanistan to join the NATO-led mission against the Taliban and other militant groups, bringing the total Afghan deployment to 300 troops.       

Australia, which is not being a member of NATO, has had an active role in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

The invasion removed the local Taliban militant group from power, but has failed to stop its militant activities in the country. The ongoing chaos has also paved the way for the Daesh terror group to gain a foothold in Afghanistan’s east.
Story Code: 666069