Australian Armed Forces Inspector General Angus Campbell admitted the war crimes committed by elite soldiers in Afghanistan.
General Angus Campbell, Chief of the Australian Defense Force, made a public apology on Thursday when reporting on cases in which new military members shot prisoners to practice their first murder.
The high command provided details on an investigation into the conduct of special forces personnel who served in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, when soldiers arranged the scenes of their killings to claim that they were enemies killed in action.
According to the ABC News report, Campbell acknowledged that the series of illegal killings began in 2009, and that the majority occurred between 2012 and 2013, in what he defined as “a self-centered warrior culture.”
“To the people of Afghanistan, on behalf of the Australian Defense Forces, I sincerely and unreservedly apologize for any wrongdoing by Australian soldiers,” said Campbell.
There are 25 Australian soldiers under investigation
The Inspector General added that “credible” information had been found on 23 incidents of illegal homicide involving 25 members of the Australian Special Forces, “predominantly from the Special Air Services Regiment (SAS)”, in which 39 Afghans were murdered.
“This alleged behavior did not deeply respect the trust placed in us by the Afghan people who had asked their country to help them,” Campbell said.
“It would have devastated the lives of Afghan families and communities, causing immeasurable pain and suffering. And it would have jeopardized our mission and the security of our Afghan and coalition partners. ”
Australia's top military officer General Angus Campbell admits there's credible evidence his special forces unlawfully killed at least 39 Afghanistan civilians and non-combatants after the results of a damning years-long investigation were published pic.twitter.com/d0X9jMpzwU
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) November 19, 2020
Campbell based his announcement on the findings of a four-year investigation led by Judge Paul Bereton, who was asked to verify the allegations, interviewed more than 400 witnesses and reviewed thousands of pages of documents.
He said he had contacted his Afghan counterpart to express the shame of the Australian people, and Reuters reported that Prime Minister Scott Morrison contacted the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani.