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Moscow Says Australia Trying to Play Down War Crimes Committed in Afghanistan

The Australian authorities are attempting to “soft-pedal” the war crimes that the Country’s soldiers perpetrated in Afghanistan, According to a statement released on Friday by Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“It is absolutely clear that the ruling establishment of the Green Continent is trying its best to soft-pedal the issue of the war crimes committed by Australian troops in Afghanistan, a topic it finds very uncomfortable. In any case, this seemed to be the underlying reason behind the activity – or, more precisely, the inactivity – of the previous liberal cabinet led by disgraced Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which included a no less notorious defence minister, Peter Dutton,” the diplomat noted, as Tass cited.

She stated that representatives from veteran organizations, the media, and some political groups that are not associated with the current ruling class have been calling attention to the fact that “attempts to close the shameful Afghan files by putting all the blame on privates and sergeants from special operations forces were unacceptable.”

“In particular, Senator Malcolm Roberts of the One Nation opposition party suggested during parliamentary hearings in May that Chief of the Australian Defense Force General Angus Campbell return the Distinguished Service Cross that he was awarded in 2012 as commander of the Australian troops in the Middle East,” Zakharova said.

According to her, new data about Australian war crimes clarifies that “this issue is institutional and deeply rooted, particularly in the elite units of the country’s armed forces.” “The ruling circles’ attempts to hush the public outcry by taking only palliative measures indicate double standards and the hypocritical nature of Australia’s political class, which disregards its flaws but readily castigates other countries for failing to meet Western standards,” Zakharova emphasized.

The Brereton report, a four-year investigation, concluded in 2020 that Australian Special Forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan. As a result, Australia reported 19 active-duty and former soldiers for possible criminal prosecution.