13 Australian soldiers face dismissal over Afghan “unlawful killings”
KABUL: The Government of China on Friday expressed shock over “unlawful killings” of Afghan civilians by the Australian troops in Afghanistan.
“We are shocked by reports on the murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian special forces soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts in breach of international conventions and human conscience. We call for a thorough investigation and holding perpetrators accountable,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Zhao Lijian.
According to him, “These reports point to the hypocrisy of some western countries who like to consider themselves as “guardians of human rights and freedom”. Instead of pointing their meddling fingers at others, they should first reflect on their own problems and stop political manipulation.”
This is as 13 Australian Special Forces soldiers face dismissal in relation to a report on alleged “unlawful killings” in Afghanistan, the head of the country’s army said on Friday.
An independent report published last week in redacted form said there was evidence that 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners and civilians were killed by 19 Australian soldiers.
None of the 19 soldiers were identified in the report, which was written by a state judge appointed by the inspector-general of defense. The 19 current and former soldiers have been referred for possible prosecution.
Australia’s most senior military official apologised to Afghanistan last week after the release of the report.
The report into the conduct of Special Forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016 said senior commandos may have forced junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to “blood” them for combat.
The inquiry examined more than 20,000 documents and 25,000 images, and interviewed 423 witnesses under oath.
Australia sent troops to join U.S.-led forces that tried to defeat the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan in the years after the Islamists were forced from power in 2001.