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Report Alleges Australian Forces Committed War Crimes In Afghanistan

FILE: An Australian gunner fires his 105mm Light Gun at Taliban positions in Kajaki, Helmand province in 2008.

A secret government inquiry has alleged that members of the Australian special forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan, local media said.

The leaked document accuses members of the elite Special Air Service of "unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations," The Age newspaper reported on June 8.

The report alleged some soldiers had shown a "disregard for human life and dignity" and actions were covered up by the military.

The inquiry into military conduct in Afghanistan was commissioned in 2016 by defense officials and conducted by consultant sociologist Samantha Crompvoets, who interviewed dozens of soldiers, but her report has remained secret.

Her findings prompted defense chiefs to order an investigation into specific war crime allegations that were not detailed in the Crompvoets report.

The Defense Department said in a statement it took "all allegations about Australian forces seriously" and that it was "aware of allegations of significant issues involving the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan."

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, has had troops in Afghanistan for 17 years fighting against the Taliban. It currently has about 300 troops in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by The Age, dpa, and Reuters