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13 Australian elite special forces receive discharge notices after probe revealed evidence of war crimes in Afghanistan

FILE PHOTO: An Australian soldier is seen through night vision while on patrol in Dili, East Timor. © Reuters / Australian Defence Force / Corporal Darren Hilder

27 November, 2020

The Australian Army revealed that 13 servicemen are facing dismissal and be referred to the special prosecutor’s office formed to study allegations in a report about elite special forces` murder of prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan.  

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr said: “At this time, 13 individuals have been issued administrative action notices in relation to the Afghanistan inquiry,” . He explained that the servicemen in question have at least two weeks to respond to the notice, which includes a proposal to sack them.

General Burr revealed that the army will study the written responses from the servicemen and consider “individual circumstance” on a case-by-case basis. The soldiers could be later referred to the office of the special prosecutor, which was created to examine the possible prosecution of troops over their conduct in Afghanistan.

The Australian media claimed that the servicemen are from the 2nd Squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment, which was disbanded shortly after the redacted version of the report on Afghanistan was published this month, and the unit’s 3rd Squadron

An official four-year investigation found evidence that elite Australian troops unlawfully killed 39 prisoners and civilians during their service in Afghanistan. The shocking details prompted the Australian government and the army to apologize to Kabul and the people of Afghanistan.  

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