Australian soldiers face dismissal after Afghan report

Thirteen Australian special forces soldiers face dismissal because of their connection to alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, according to Australia's head of Army on Friday.

An independent report published last week revealed that Australian soldiers killed 39 unarmed civilians and prisoners in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.

Australian Lieutenant General Rick Burr on Friday did not identify the soldiers being dismissed, but he said they were not part of the 19 current and former soldiers who face possible criminal charges for the alleged killings.

"At this time, 13 individuals have been issued administrative action notices in relation to the Afghanistan inquiry. At this point in time, no individuals have been separated from the Australian Defence Force. Administrative action includes receiving a notice proposing to terminate the individual's service."

Burr said the 13 soldiers that face dismissal have two weeks to respond to the notice.

"We are all holding ourselves to account as an organisation, and we'll work through this in a proper way."

Last week's report revealed that senior commandos may have forced junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to prepare them for combat. This alleged practice is called 'blooding.'

The inquiry examined more than 20,000 documents and 25,000 images, and interviewed over 400 witnesses under oath.

Australia's most senior military official apologised to Afghanistan last week after the release of the report.

Video Transcript

- 13 Australian Special Forces soldiers face dismissal because of their connection to alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, according to Australia's head of army on Friday. An independent report published last week revealed that Australian soldiers killed 39 unarmed civilians and prisoners in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016. Australian Lieutenant General Rick Burr on Friday did not identify the soldiers being dismissed, but he said they were not part of the 19 current and former soldiers who face possible criminal charges for the alleged killings.

LT. RICK BURR: At this time, 13 individuals have been issued administrative action notices in relation to the Afghanistan inquiry. At this point in time, no individuals have been separated from the Australian Defense Force. Administrative action includes receiving a notice proposing to terminate the individual service.

- Burr said the 13 soldiers that face dismissal have two weeks to respond to the notice.

LT. RICK BURR: We are all holding ourselves to account as an organization, and we will work through this in a proper way.

- Last week's report revealed that senior commandos may have forced junior soldiers to kill defenseless captives in order to prepare them for combat. This alleged practice is called blooding. The inquiry examined more than 20,000 documents and 25,000 images and interviewed over 400 witnesses under oath. Australia's most senior military official apologized to Afghanistan last week after the release of the report.