by Farid Behbud
KABUL, Nov 22 (NNN-XINHUA) – The alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan during their military mission, have drawn strong reaction from Afghans, who condemned the killings of innocent people.
“Killing of unarmed individuals, civilians and non-combatants are war crimes. It is not important who committed war crimes, but all perpetrators of war crimes in Afghanistan must be brought to justice,” Eqbal Siddiqui, a private university student in Kabul, told Xinhua on Saturday.
Siddiqui strongly condemned the Australian troops’ barrages on Afghan civilians and asked for more investigations into the issue and the punishment of the perpetrators.
He also asked for compensation from the Australian government to the Afghan victims’ families.
Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, vowed that, allegations of war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, will be taken “very seriously.” He said, the allegations would be pursued until “justice is indeed served.”
Morrison had a phone conversation with Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, to discuss the issue.
“In this phone call, the Australian Prime Minister expressed his deepest sorrow over misconduct by some Australian troops and assured the Afghan President of investigations and to ensure justice,” Afghan Presidential Palace said in a statement.
Hassan Samedi, an Afghan shop owner, denounced the killings, saying, “The U.S. and NATO-led coalition forces came to Afghanistan under the pretext of war against terrorism. But they also conducted war crimes, killing and torturing innocent Afghans.”
In a letter to Afghan acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, “extended apologies for the misconduct by some Australian military personnel,” according to the Afghan presidential place.
Australian Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds and Chief of the Defence Force, Gen. Angus Campbell are considering the inquiry’s extensive findings and recommendations, and will make public statements subsequently, the presidential palace statement quoted the letter as saying.
The Australian Defence Force recently released the findings of a four-year inquiry that found “credible evidence” of the special forces soldiers’ murdering of 39 prisoners, farmers and civilians, during the war in Afghanistan.– NNN-XINHUA