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War crimes inquiry: More than 50 incidents involving Australian special forces under investigation

Disturbing war crimes, including the unlawful killing of civilians and prisoners by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, are under investigation, according to a report tabled in Federal Parliament.

The report reveals at least 55 separate incidents, most of which relate to unlawful executions or cruel treatment of civilians and prisoners, are being investigated by the military watchdog.

Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force James Gaynor today tabled the report, which based on interviews with more than 330 witnesses, ahead of a final report, which is expected in coming months.

The Age investigative reporter Nick McKenzie, who broke the story, said Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith is among those under investigation by the watchdog.

But there is a “silver lining” to the explosive story.

“This inquiry is driven by people within the SAS and the commandos, brave Afghan veterans who went over and saw a very small number of their colleagues doing the wrong thing, and had the guts to break the code of silence and speak out,” Mr McKenzie told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“One thing the inspector-general does in his report today is acknowledge their bravery.”

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Image: Ian Hitchcock / Stringer