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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

War crimes by Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan

If you thought USA was the only Western power which has been caught committing war crimes such as Abu Ghraib during the ‘war on terror’, think again. Last year, the International Criminal Court found evidence British troops committed war crimes in Iraq – murder of unarmed civilians, rape and sexual violence, torture etc. – which the British government likely covered up. Now, more evidence has emerged of war crimes committed by Australia’s special forces in Afghanistan.

The single deadliest atrocity involving Australian Special Forces was the “tractor job”. After a farmer was ‘accidentally’ shot dead by a patrol commander during an operation in Dec 2012, the Australians decided to kill all the farmers there so they couldn’t tell anyone. At least 6 civilians were shot dead near a tractor in the field, including a young boy aged 13 or 14 years. One of the soldiers involved in this raid appears to have been a serial killer. In other operations, this solider killed an unarmed man cowering in a wheat field, and a disabled man running away in fear.

Earlier, documents marked “SECRET AUSTEO, INQUIRY IN CONFIDENCE” leaked in 2017 had revealed a “drift” in Australian special forces “values” in Afghanistan. AUSTEO stands for ‘Australian Eyes Only’. Afghan authorities had become increasingly agitated over Australians killing unarmed civilians and threatened to stop working with Australians. By 2016, Australian forces were forced to leave Afghanistan for committing war crimes on civilians and terrorists.

Australia sent more than 25,000 troops, 3,000 of them special forces, in rotations from 2005 to 2016 to the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. An Australian military inquiry report said it found credible information of war crimes, unlawful killings of civilians and efforts to cover up the incidents.

One document from 2014 refers to ingrained “problems” within special forces, a “warrior culture” and a willingness by officers to turn a blind eye to poor behavior.

Image courtesy abc.net.au

A report on a meeting between Australian Special Forces personnel and the chief of police, Matiullah Khan, noted that he was agitated about “shooting civilians, especially women who do not target Coalition Forces or Afghan National Security Forces.” A NATO report authored by an Australian officer warned that the patience of Afghan authorities with the killing of civilians might be wearing thin.

Taking the moral high ground when they entered Afghanistan, the Australian Defence Force instructed its members that unarmed Afghans might be legitimately killed if they were DPIH — “directly participating in hostilities”. There had to be a solid basis for that suspicion though, based on knowledge of insurgent “tactics, techniques and procedures”. 

On the ground, Afghans riding a motorcycle in a certain fashion near Australian troops, or seen talking on a radio or mobile phone, were shot and killed. A large proportion of the documents reports on multiple incidents between 2009-2013 in which their special forces troops shot dead unarmed men and children. 

The documents show that on a number of occasions defense investigations only occurred because locals complained to Afghan authorities, and those authorities demanded answers from the Australian forces, or because journalists or NGOs raised concerns.

In May 2009, an ‘internal inquiry’ found that Australian soldiers who killed three men during an assault on a compound were cleared despite the fact that one of the dead was hiding in a pile of chaff, another was running away from the compound and the third was hiding in a haystack.

None of the three were armed, no weapons were found nearby and none of the eight Afghan men captured alive was questioned about the identities of the dead men. The officer who carried out the inquiry did not travel to the scene or question the local inhabitants. Despite all this, he determined the dead men “acted in a manner consistent with taking a direct part in hostilities.” 

Cutting off hands ‘a tactical necessity’

In early 2013, four terrorists were killed and a SAS (Special Air Service) corporal searched the first body and found a pistol. He then severed the right hand of the EKIA (enemy killed in action) with a scalpel! He repeated the process with two other terrorists, cutting off their right hands. Australian troops, if possible, were required to collect fingerprints and eye scans of every Taliban terrorist who they killed. But the mutilation or mistreatment of the bodies of the dead is a violation of the laws of war. 

New guidelines were quickly put in place emphasizing that “the mutilation and otherwise maltreatment of human remains” are not permitted.

While mistakes do happen in a war zone, and Islamic terrorists are especially known for their barbarity, the way the Anglophone West has conducted its ‘war on terror’ shows a deep-rooted sense of supremacism and exceptionalism, coupled with systemic racism and disregard for lives in the so-called ‘third world’. The America-led Anglosphere claims it occupies a moral high ground compared to the rest of the world, but the truth is that it can be just as brutal as the Chinese or any Islamist/Communist regime in pursuit of its ‘national interest’.

For Hindus, the way the Anglophone West has nurtured a genocidal, Islamo-fascist nation like Pakistan and harbored anti-Bharat fanatics like Khalistanis and others, all the while lecturing Bharat about ‘religious freedom’ and ‘human rights’, provides a clear lesson which we ignore at our own peril. Whatever the Anglosphere may be, it is no friend of Hindus and Bharat.

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