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Australian ex-soldier arrested over alleged Afghanistan war crime

An Australian former soldier has been arrested over allegations that he murdered a man while deployed in Afghanistan.

The arrest on Monday comes more than two years after a damning internal investigation found 39 civilians and prisoners had been “unlawfully killed” by Australian elite special forces.

A 41-year-old veteran was expected to be charged with a war crime and could face life in prison if found guilty, Australian Federal Police said.

The man is expected to appear before a local court in the state of New South Wales on Monday.

Footage of killing

According to ABC News, the charge “relates to the shooting death of Afghan man Dad Mohammad during an ADF raid in May 2012 in Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan”.

“That killing was revealed in March 2020 by the ABC’s Four Corners program, which broadcast footage showing Mr Schulz shooting Mr Mohammad while the Afghan man lay on the ground.”

According to UN estimates, at least 100,000 Afghan civilians have died since former US President George W. Bush authorised the offensive in Afghanistan in October 2001.

A report commissioned by the inspector-general of the Australian Defense Force found “credible information” that Australian soldiers murdered civilians and prisoners in Afghanistan.

According to the report, 25 current or former personnel were involved in serious crimes, either carrying out the offenses themselves or being “accessories”.

The findings were a watershed moment for Australia, which holds its military in high esteem and had attempted to suppress whistleblower reports of the alleged wrongdoing.

Australian police even investigated reporters involved in bringing the allegations to light.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, more than 26,000 Australian uniformed personnel were sent to Afghanistan to fight alongside US and allied forces against the Taliban, al Qaeda and other armed groups.

READ MORE: War crimes in Afghanistan: Australian soldiers face discharge over killings

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