By Naadiya Adams
The Brereton War Crime report, which has been under investigation for four years, has found that at least 39 Afghan civilians were killed by a group of 19 Australian soldiers who form part of the Defence Forces (ADF) elite special air services and commandos’ regiment between 2005 and 2016 according to The Indian Express.
While speaking to Radio Islam, Aljazeera Analyst, Hashmatullah Muslih says the report has shocked the nation as many find it inconceivable that ADF soldiers could commit such atrocities.
13 of the implicated soldiers will be dismissed from the ADF but Muslih says higher ranking officials were definitely aware of what was happening. He also illuded to the fact that the kill orders may very well have come from higher up.
“There are people who would say the Australian Government is implicated to this, nevertheless the Defence Minister is responsible, the Defence Ministry is responsible,” says Muslih.
Identifying at least 25 soldiers, who were either directly or indirectly involved in the killings, the report is damning, citing gruesome acts from slitting throats and keeping kill counts to photographing dead bodies.
Muslih cited the motive for some of these killings as soldiers simply wanting to get in their “first kill”, he says it is a disregard for human life widely practiced by large armies.
Muslih says the killings speak to Islamophobia which has the likelihood of coming from top officials and the fact that the report did not cite anything about Muslims, or Islamophobia is a huge disappointment – he says the report should have come out more forceful with regard to upper military.
He believes it was done in a move to protect the image of the Australian Army as they would not want to be linked to acts of Islamophobia.
Musllih says the 39 confirmed killings is just the tip of the iceberg.