USE THIS ONEAt least 13 currently serving Australian soldiers have been asked to prove why they shouldn’t be discharged or disciplined over allegations linked to potential war crimes in Afghanistan, according to the chief of the Australian Army. Chief of Army Rick Burr on Friday confirmed administrative action had been taken against the soldiers following a report into special forces’ conduct between 2005 and 2016, according to media reports from Australia. Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Paul Brereton’s report uncovered credible evidence of 39 unlawful killings and two cases of torture by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

Burr refused to say if the members who are the subject of disciplinary action are among the 19 Brereton recommended be referred to federal police. “At this time, 13 individuals have been issued administrative action notices in relation to the Afghanistan inquiry,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday. “At this point in time, no individuals have been separated from the Australian Defence Force.” He said administrative action included receiving a notice proposing termination of service, with each individual given 14 days to respond.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was appropriate for Defence to take whatever action it deemed necessary. “If there are any disciplinary actions that occur within the defence forces they are rightly made by the defence forces, not by ministers,” he told 4BC radio on Friday. But he warned potential criminal charges stemming from the Brereton report would need to follow a strict process to ensure fairness. “I can’t promise that will be a quick process. Justice is a patience process. It is patient because it has to conform with respecting everyone’s rights,” the prime minister said.

Australian Defence Force chief Angus Campbell has agreed to revoke the meritorious group citation for people who served with the Special Operation Task Group in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013, the Australian Associated Press reported.


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