Former Australian commando below investigation over 2012 Afghanistan rotation

A former Australian Special Forces commando is a goal of a struggle crimes investigation for the alleged killing of a minimum of one unarmed detainee throughout a deployment to Afghanistan.

ABC Investigations has established that the alleged incident occurred throughout an October 2012 raid, performed by members of Australia’s 2nd Commando Regiment, america Drug Enforcement Administration and Afghan forces.

The joint operation focused Taliban drug networks within the district of Qarabagh within the north of Helmand Province.

Distressed Afghan villagers who had been in Qarabagh when occasions unfolded have advised ABC Investigations that civilians had been shot after being detained, accounts that largely match data from Australian Defence sources.

The commando below investigation returned residence and allegedly advised an elder from his church that he had killed unarmed detainees throughout the operation.

Whereas the Brereton Inquiry didn’t discover credible proof of struggle crimes by the 2nd Commando Regiment, ABC Investigations understands Australia’s struggle crimes investigation company has opened an lively investigation into some commandos.

The raid happened within the district of Qarabagh in Helmand Province.(ABC News)

ABC Investigations has spent eight months inspecting the Qarabagh raid, twice sending an Afghan journalist to the positioning to interview villagers caught up within the operation and relations of those that died.

‘Do not run … we now have seen you’

“They arrived at 2 o’clock within the afternoon and left at about 9 o’clock that evening,” villager Noor Ali advised the ABC’s Afghan reporter.

“They fired and shouted … saying, ‘do not run, come again, we now have seen you.’ And so they shot on the villagers.”

Noor Ali mentioned his son Abdul Raziq was killed within the raid after being detained by males that he described as overseas troops.

“My son was shot within the eye. And from that facet the bullet had gone by way of his head.”

A man with a grey beard wearing a head covering sits outdoors and looks into the camera with a serious expression.
Noor Ali says he wish to see these answerable for the killings delivered to justice.(ABC News)

The Afghan reporter despatched to Qarabagh by ABC Investigations was given no particulars concerning the 2012 raid. The knowledge he returned with largely matches separate accounts from Australian Defence sources.

All of the Afghans interviewed for this story mentioned seven individuals had been killed within the operation, with a minimum of six of them alleged to have been killed whereas unarmed and below the management of a number of the commandos on the raid.

The villagers say the seventh individual to die — a person named Gulbuddin — was additionally unarmed, and was shot from a distance.

Defence sources have confirmed to ABC Investigations that the commandos encountered Taliban fighters throughout the operation, which additionally uncovered shops of weapons, explosives and a booby-trapped home.

Defence sources mentioned seven Afghans died within the raid and allege that a minimum of 4 might have been unlawfully killed.

On the time the lifeless had been listed as ‘Enemy Killed in Motion’ by the troopers within the raid.

The Brereton inquiry into allegations of struggle crimes discovered “credible data” that 39 individuals had been unlawfully killed by Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan, the overwhelming majority being ‘individuals below management’ (PUCs) who had been protected below worldwide regulation.

All of these instances concerned the Particular Air Service Regiment (SAS).

“Defence holds members of the ADF to the very best requirements and investigates all allegations of breaches of the Legislation of Armed Battle, together with any raised throughout detention operations performed in Afghanistan,” a Defence spokesperson advised the ABC.

‘They caught us’

One villager, Malook, mentioned he was amongst a gaggle of males rounded up throughout the operation.

A man with a beard and wearing a cap looks into camera with a serious expression.
Malook says the 2 Afghans he was with had been later discovered lifeless subsequent to a wall.(ABC News)

“At afternoon prayer time, the raid occurred, they usually caught us.

They took us to that home … there have been round 20 to 25 individuals. After they took us, they separated three of us. One was named Dad Mohammad, the opposite was Aminul Huq, and me,” Malook mentioned.

Malook mentioned the three of them had been made to take a seat down.

“Then a foreigner got here and held the opposite two [by] their palms and took them to the close to wall.

From the place he was, Malook mentioned he might solely partially see what occurred subsequent.

“I heard the pictures,” he mentioned.

“The 2 [Afghans] could not be seen, however the foreigners had been seen.”

The 2 Afghans had been later discovered lifeless with head wounds.

One other villager, Mir Wali, mentioned he was detained with two different males named Abdul Raziq and Atiqullah.

“They took us inside this home. On the different facet of this home there’s a small door. They took Abdul Raziq and Atiqullah out that method.”

Each males had been found by villagers with bullet wounds to the pinnacle.

Defence sources mentioned officers and the commander on the bottom, in addition to a few of his group, had been stationed away from the raid, in a unique a part of the district, and didn’t see what occurred.

A man with a beard and wearing a head covering wears a serious expression as he is interviewed.
Mir Wali says he was rounded up by the troopers together with two different males who had been killed within the raid.(ABC News)

A soldier on the Qarabagh mission – who ABC Investigations has known as Commando S — later returned to Australia and went to see a church elder in February 2013.

The Age newspaper has obtained the church elder’s notes of their dialog.

“[Commando S] suggested me that he was troubled by an incident,” the church elder wrote. “And he sought my counsel.”

A composite image of portraits of two young men.
Aminul Huq (left) and Gulbuddin (proper) had been amongst these killed within the raid, villagers say.(Equipped)

ABC Investigations has confirmed that the church elder’s observe pertains to the Qarabagh raid.

Within the observe, the church elder mentioned Commando S had described an incident the place he and a few members of his group detained a gaggle of Afghans.

“He escorted them out right into a yard and executed the primary two by capturing them together with his pistol, then, as he shot the third, the way in which during which the person checked out him, triggered him to know that he was murdering an harmless man … [a] non-combatant who had simply been caught up within the skirmish,” the elder wrote.

ABC Investigations understands that Commando S later contested the elder’s account, however did admit to killing one of many detainees throughout the raid.

Soldiers in a helicopter mid-flight look out to another helicopter.
Australian commandos performed anti-narcotic operations with the US Drug Enforcement Administration.(Equipped)

ABC Investigations can verify that Commando S and a number of other members of his platoon are below investigation by the Workplace of the Particular Investigator (OSI), the company established to probe struggle crimes in Afghanistan.

In April this 12 months, the OSI served Commando S with a warrant.

A lawyer for Commando S advised ABC Investigations it might be inappropriate to answer our questions as these issues had been now, “the topic of a present investigation by the Workplace of the Particular Investigator”.

An ADF spokesperson advised the ABC that “legal investigations and any potential prosecutions had been being performed independently of Defence”.

“The Workplace of the Particular Investigator (OSI) is working with the Australian Federal Police to analyze allegations of legal offences below Australian regulation arising from or associated to breaches of the regulation of armed battle by ADF members in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.”

Members of the family in Qarabagh say they nonetheless need justice for his or her family members and anybody accountable held accountable.

“If we now have the facility and the power, we’d convey them to justice,” mentioned Noor Ali, whose son Abdul Raziq was killed.

“However we won’t do something.”

Watch this story tonight on 7.30 on ABC TV and iview.