Australian special forces have been accused of killing an unarmed, bound prisoner in cold blood, as a four-year probe into alleged war crimes committed by Aussie troops in Afghanistan nears its end.
A US Marine helicopter crew chief told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that a group of Australian soldiers shot and killed an Afghan prisoner as they were preparing to be airlifted after a raid.
According to the marine, identified only as Josh, the Aussie commandos radioed his helicopter to tell them they needed transportation for seven prisoners captured during the operation.
“And you just heard this silence, and then we heard a pop. And then they said, ‘OK, we have six prisoners’,” Josh told the Australian outlet.
The US marine said it was the first time he had seen something he couldn’t “morally justify,” as the prisoner had already been detained and posed no threat to the Aussie forces.
We knew somebody was already cuffed up, ready to go, taken prisoner, and we just witnessed them kill a prisoner.
He said he spoke about the incident with the rest of his crew and the team agreed there was “no excuse” for what happened. “It was a very deliberate decision to break the rules of war,” he claimed.
A spokesperson for the Australian Defence Force told ABC it could not comment on the report because it may be the subject of an ongoing inquiry into alleged misconduct by Australia’s Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
The secretive inquiry began more than four years ago. A report outlining the probe’s findings is expected to be released by the end of the year.
ABC has reported numerous alleged crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan, after the outlet obtained military documents that detailed the killing of unarmed civilians, including children.
The Australian Federal Police carried out a highly controversial raid of ABC’s Sydney headquarters, reportedly in an effort to confiscate the explosive leaked documents. In June, a federal prosecutor recommended that charges be brought against an ABC journalist who reported on the leaks, but the government is still deciding whether to take the reporter to court.