Australia to lay off at least 10 soldiers for killings in Afghanistan: ABC | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: Members of the Australian special forces training during the Australian International Airshow in Melbourne 2 March 2011. REUTERS / Mick Tsikas / Files

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia has issued a halt notice to at least 10 special forces troops following the release of a report that found credible evidence of extrajudicial killings in Afghanistan, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said on Thursday.

An independent report published last week in erased form said there was evidence that 39 Afghan prisoners and unarmed 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. 19 soldiers and former soldiers have been referred for possible prosecution.

Amid the immediate repercussions, the ABC said 10 soldiers had been formally informed they would be dismissed.

The broadcaster did not identify any of the 10 people but said they were all witnesses or accessories and were therefore not among 19 referred for possible criminal charges.

The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ABC said the 10 soldiers would have at least 14 days to respond to the cessation notice. It did not say if any of them had legal representation.

Australia’s most senior military official apologized to Afghanistan last week following the release of the report.

Australia is sending troops to join US-led forces trying to defeat a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan in the years after the Islamist group was forced from power in 2001.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Edited by Robert Birsel

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