Australia solicits clues for alleged killing of Afghanistan civilians by Australian soldiers

Source
China Military Online
Editor
Huang Panyue
Time
2017-09-05

BEIJING, Sep. 5 (ChinaMil) -- The office of the Inspector General of the Australian Defense Force (IGADF) issued a statement on September 1 soliciting clues about the alleged killing of civilians by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan to investigate whether there were any war crimes committed inside the Australian armed forces.

The statement said it "wants to hear from anyone with information concerning rumors of possible breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict" by Australians in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2016. The statement said that they would like to hear from anyone else who has any relevant information.

The Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) first reported the alleged unlawful killings. British media followed up and uncovered a lot of shocking news. The report said that the Australian special forces is alleged of killing civilians in Afghanistan, including a fourteen-year-old boy and a 6-year-old child. The Australian troops tried cover up the crime by giving money to relatives of the dead.

According to The Guardian, the boy’s name was Khan Mohammed who lived Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. When the boy was collecting figs on one morning in 2012, he became the target of the Australian military’s positioning system. He was shot by Australian special forces and his body was dumped in a ditch by Australian soldiers.

A six-year-old boy was shot to death in an Australian raid in Uruzgan province in Afghanistan in September 2013. The website of Russia Today TV reported that the Australian special airborne regiment "accidentally" shot and killed the boy when going after a suspected Taliban member. The boy's family was therefore compensated for $ 1,500 (about 10,000 yuan).

An Australian special forces veteran said that he witnessed the decay of moral and ethical values in Afghanistan. The anonymous veteran also said that some elements of the Australian SOTG (Special Operations Task Group) led to the indiscriminate, reckless and avoidable deaths of innocent civilians in Afghanistan.

Although Australia is not a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and is not a member of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Australia has military presence in Afghanistan since 2002 as an ally of the US. Australia provides training and assistance to the Afghan government forces.

In May 2017, Australia sent 30 soldiers to Afghanistan, expanding the number of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan to 300.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Matisse said on August 31 that he had signed an order to send more troops to Afghanistan. But he did not disclose the exact number.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for the Afghanistan War on August 21, saying that the U.S. will not withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but to send more troops. Trump also did not disclose the specific number.

Just one day before Matisse’s announcement to send more soldiers, the U.S. Department of Defense said that there are 11,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The figure is much higher than the 8,400 announced by the military previously. The U.S. Ministry of Defense said the new figure includes the number of short term US troops stationed in Afghanistan.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the US had more than 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. During the Barack Obama administration, the U.S.-led NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan ended its operational mission at the end of 2014 and they only provide training, technical and other support to the Afghan security forces. At present, NATO has 5,000 soldiers in Afghanistan (excluding US troops).

 

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