The Australian Defence Force (ADF) continues to investigate an incident of potential misconduct during a combined operation between Afghan National Security Forces and Australia’s Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) in Zabul province on 28 April 2013.
The combined operation was targeting an insurgent commander responsible for a key insurgent network operating in and around Uruzgan province.
During the clearance operation, Australian personnel were engaged in a high intensity, complex and dangerous battle.
Four insurgents were engaged and killed during the battle.
Following the mission, an incident of potential misconduct was raised through the ADF’s internal command chain.
The ADF takes any potential occurrence of misconduct by Australian personnel very seriously.
The ADF, in cooperation with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), immediately commenced an investigation into this incident when the matter was reported.
ISAF has also informed the Afghan Government of the situation.
Members of the ADF operate under strict rules of engagement designed to protect our troops on operations, while ensuring that the actions of Australian forces are consistent with our obligations under Australian and international law in protecting the lives and property of the innocent.
The ADF also takes all reasonable steps to ensure its operations do not breach Afghan customs or cause offence by inadvertently disrespecting religious beliefs or norms.
Given the public interest in these matters, the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley issued a media release on 8 May 2013 confirming an investigation was underway.
However, given the investigation is not complete, it would be inappropriate for Defence to comment further at this time.
The previous media release is available at: http://news.defence.gov.au/2013/05/08/review-into-special-operations-task-group-operation/
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999