Elite Australian troops allegedly murdered 39 Afghan civilians, a majority of whom had been captured and were unarmed, according to a shocking war crimes report that said 19 soldiers will be referred for potential criminal prosecution.
Defense Force Chief Gen. Angus Campbell on Thursday said the alleged atrocities included cases in which new members would shoot a prisoner in order to record their first kill — a practice known as “blooding.”
He told reporters in Canberra that the troops would then plant weapons and radios to support false claims the prisoners were enemies who had been killed in action.
The illegal killings, which also involved civilians and farmers, began in 2009, with the majority occurring in 2012 and 2013, Campbell said, adding that Special Air Service members encouraged “a self-centered, warrior culture.”
“To the people of Afghanistan, on behalf of the Australian Defense Force, I sincerely and unreservedly apologize for any wrongdoing by Australian soldiers,” Campbell said after announcing