After murder of Afghanistan citizens, moral compass questions the Australian military
39 Afghanistan citizens and non-combatants were allegedly murdered by Australian military, as detailed by the army in its official enquiry on Thursday. This has brought a big question on moral integrity on the ‘Diggers’, as the Australian soldiers are fondly called for their service to the nation.
The term is coined from the efforts of young Australia’s soldiers back during World War I, forged a national identity in Gallipolli, the Turkish peninsula. Australian history teaches the young generation, “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.” The nation now knows that the same celebrated Australian army are responsible for the killing of Afghani citizens. The elite Special Operations Forces who were supposed to be the protectors and liberating baton have done the morally compromised action unsuitable to the Australian military uniform. These lost 39 Afghani lives will now be forever the reminder of both countries being constructed over a bed of war cruelties.
After four year long investigations into the killings, caried out by Inspector General of the Australian Defense Force (IGADF), the allegations are sufficient to prosecute the 19 soldiers of war crimes of cruel treatment and murder. The names of accused soldiers have been redacted from the report that was made public on Thursday and as of now they remain unknown to the public.
General Angus Campbell, chief of Australia’s Defense Force said on Thursday addressing Afghanistan, “I am sincerely sorry for their loss. I cant imagine the pain, the suffering and the uncertainty that the loss has caused both at the time, and the continuing uncertainty of how that happened.”
Just as in a war victory and valor are shared, so are the crimes and shame. Gen. Campbell has announced that review committee will look into all the honors received by Australian soldiers for their posting in Afghanistan. At least 3000 special forces Australian forces could be forced to hand over their medals and decorations as a result of investigation.
Special Air Services Regiment 2 Squadron has been decided to be struck off from the battle order or listing of Australia’s military units. Army Chief Lt. Gen. Rick Burr said that “2 Squadron was a nexus of alleged serious criminal activities.” He added, “Future generations will be reminded of this moment in our military history from the gap in our squadron numbering system.”
IGADF report says, “Where there is credible information that an identified or identifiable Afghan national has been unlawfully killed.. Australia should now compensate the family of that person, without awaiting for establishment of criminal liability. This will be an important step in rehabilitating Australia’s international reputation, in particular with Afghanistan, and it is simply the right thing to do.”
But locating the victims and compensating them under the Taliban controlled territory won’t be an easy task to achieve as many victim families might have moved. But the staggering report has definitely placed Australia’s moral integrity and global reputation at stake.