PM calls Australian atrocity allegations in Afghanistan ‘disturbing’

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© Reuters. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Tokyo

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday that the findings of a report that the country’s special forces killed 39 prisoners and unarmed civilians in Afghanistan were “disturbing and distressing”.

The report, released Thursday after an investigation into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, found that high-ranking commandos forced young soldiers to kill defenseless captives in order to “blood” troops for the fight.

He recommended dismissing 19 current and former soldiers for possible prosecution.

“This is a terrible, terribly disturbing and distressing report,” Morrison said on Saturday in his first public comments since the document was released.

“But the problem with Australia is – is that we’re going to take care of it. And we’ll take care of it under our law, our systems and our justice system.”

Australia, which generally honors its military history with fervor, reacted with shame and anger at the severity of the report’s findings.

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