CANBERRA, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The head of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has received a landmark report into alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
Angus Campbell, the Chief of the Defence Force, confirmed that he has received the findings of a four-year long investigation by the Inspector-General of the ADF into war crimes allegedly committed by special forces troops between 2005 and 2016.
"I intend to speak about the key findings once I have read and reflected on the report," Campbell said in a statement.
"I strongly encourage current and former serving ADF members, their families and anyone else affected by the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry to access welfare support."
Earlier this year the IGADF revealed the investigation centered on 55 separate potential breaches of the laws of armed conflict by the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG).
Lieutenant General Rick Burr, the Chief of Army, in October wrote to ADF members warning that allegations contained in the report were "extremely serious and deeply troubling."
"They do not reflect who we aspire to be. We will act on the findings when they are presented to the Chief of the Defence Force," he said.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which has published eyewitness accounts of the alleged war crimes including mass shootings of Afghan civilians by SOTG troops, reported on Friday that the report recommends criminal prosecutions or military sanctions for 15 to 20 soldiers involved in 10 incidents.
The Australian government has promised to release the report publicly and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed suggestions that soldiers involved could be denied procedural fairness.
"These reports are troubling and the claims are exactly why this process was set up," Morrison said in late October.
"This is a very serious inquiry, it's done by people who are highly skilled in handling what are very sensitive matters." Enditem