Australian special forces soldiers gloated about torturing and killing teenagers when they were serving in Afghanistan, a new report has claimed.
The alleged conduct, which was reportedly covered up, has been compared to the widely condemned behaviour of American soldiers serving in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison from 2003 onwards.
The confidential report was commissioned in 2016 by then chief of army Angus Campbell. It is said to reveal unarmed civilians and prisoners in Afghanistan were shot dead or had their throats slit by Australian soldiers.
The report claims a few servicemen were said to have ‘gloated’ about illegal killings.
Defence consultant Samantha Crompvoets (pictured above) produced the report after interviewing a number of special forces soldiers
Defence consultant Samantha Crompvoets produced the report which contains a number of candid interviews with special forces soldiers.
The allegations include claims that war crimes being normalised by some soldiers, that there was ‘competition killing and blood lust’ and that prisoners were treated ‘inhumanely’.
General Campbell was also told of testimony from special forces that some soldiers were ‘glorifying crimes’ and were involved in the ‘cover-ups of unlawful killing and other atrocities’ in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2015.
‘If they didn’t do it, they saw it (killings). And if they didn’t see it, they knew about it,’ an insider reportedly stated.
The briefing goes onto point out major failures in Defence leadership that contributed to the scandal. Focus was also placed on inadequate whistle-blowing avenues, which would have assisted soldiers in reporting war crimes without fear of retribution.
The behaviour of British and US soldiers in Afghanistan was ‘far worse’, according to a special forces informant, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
‘I’ve watched our young guys stand by and hero worship what they were doing, salivating at how the US were torturing people. You just stand there and roll your eyes and wait for it to end,’ he said in a recording.
Australian soldiers were also said to have killed two boys suspected of being Taliban sympathisers. The pair allegedly had their throats slit, with the bodies later thrown into a nearby river.
Dr Crompvoets’ briefing to General Campbell in early 2016 was the catalyst for soon to be completed four year inquiry into war crimes by senior judge Paul Brereton.
Defence Force General Angus Campbell (pictured above) commissioned a report in 2016 which revealed alleged misconduct of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan between 2001-2015