A report into the conduct of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan was released Thursday, concluding that there is “credible information to substantiate 23 incidents of alleged unlawful killing of 39 people by 25 Australian Special Forces personnel, predominantly from the Special Air Service Regiment.”
The inquiry – conducted by Maj Gen Justice Paul Brereton – conducted interviews with more than 400 witnesses. It also found evidence that:
- Junior soldiers were told to get their first kill by shooting prisoners, in a practice known as “blooding”
- Weapons and other items were planted near Afghan bodies to cover up crimes
- An additional two incidents could constitute a war crime of “cruel treatment”
Afghanistan said it had been assured by Australia that it was committed to “ensuring justice”.