Australian Defence Force: Findings of the war crimes inquiry

Australian soldiers stand accused of murdering 39 people in Afghanistan and treating prisoners with cruelty.

The damning findings were outlined in a major report into alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan made public on Thursday.

The inquiry uncovered scores of instances of unlawful killings and inhumane treatment of detainees.

Australian defence chief Angus Campbell revealed 'none of the alleged unlawful killings were described as being in the heat of battle'.

He went on outline how the 'self-centred warrior culture' had led to 'cutting corners, ignoring and bending rules'. 

'Cutting corners, ignoring and bending rules was normalised. What also emerged was a toxic, competitiveness between the Special Air Service Regiment end of the second commando Regiment,' he said. 

Since 2016, the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force has examined allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

Pictured: The Australian and Afghan National Army search a village at Musazai in the Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan

Pictured: The Australian and Afghan National Army search a village at Musazai in the Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan

Over four years, Justice Paul Brereton interviewed more than 400 witnesses and examined tens of thousands of documents.

Justice Brereton found there was credible evidence of 23 incidents in which a total of 39 Afghan nationals were unlawfully killed.

He identified another two instances where prisoners were treated cruelly by elite Australian troops.

A few of the Afghan nationals killed were not participating in hostilities, while the majority were prisoners of war.

Justice Brereton identified 25 current or former ADF personnel accused of perpetrating one or more war crimes.

The report covered the period from 2005 to 2016, but almost all of the incidents uncovered occurred between 2009 and 2013.

'None of these are incidents of disputable decisions made under pressure in the heat of battle,'

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