Australia tells 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal after report on possible unlawful killings in Afghanistan alleges senior commandos may have forced junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives.
Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to a report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant General Rick Burr, head of Australia's army, said on Friday the personnel had been served "administrative action notices", which would terminate their service in two weeks unless they successfully appealed.
An independent report published last week in redacted form said there was evidence that 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners and 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 defence.
The report recommended 19 individuals be referred to Australian Federal Police, compensation be paid to the families of victims, and that the military carry out a slew of reforms.
Burr said due process must now be respected as the military looks to bring those responsible for wrongdoing to justice.
Burr did not identify any of the 13 soldiers but said they were not part of the 19 current and former soldiers who face possible criminal charges. He said the 13 soldiers that face dismissal have two weeks to respond to the notice.
READ MORE: Afghanistan is no stranger to war crimes
"At this time, 13 individuals have been issued administrative action notices in relation to the Afghanistan inquiry," Burr told reporters in Canberra.
"We are all committed to learning from the inquiry and emerging from this a stronger, more capable and effective army," Burr said.
"Each matter and individual circumstance will be considered on a case-by-case basis."
Australia’s most senior military official apologised to Afghanistan last week after the release of the report.
The report into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016 said senior commandos may have forced junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives to "blood" them for combat.
The inquiry examined more than 20,000 documents and 25,000 images, and interviewed 423 witnesses under oath.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, more than 26,000 Australian uniformed personnel were sent to Afghanistan to fight alongside US and allied forces against the Taliban, al Qaeda and millitant groups.
Australian combat troops officially left the country in late 2013, but since then a series of often-brutal accounts have emerged about the conduct of elite special forces units.