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Taliban to allow an Australian war crime probe

AT News

KABUL: The Taliban say they will allow Australian investigators into Afghanistan to investigate longstanding war crime accusations against Australian troops during their service in the country.

The Taliban say it is prepared to facilitate Australian law enforcement investigating war crimes in Afghanistan, provided it believes the probe was “honest”. The Islamic Emirate says it would ensure any possible Australian compensation reaches the hands of Afghan victims.

Australia’s Federal Police (AFP) and Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) are investigating at least 40 war crimes allegations linked to Afghanistan amid fears investigations on the ground were not possible because of the Taliban rule.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has expressed the group’s willingness to allow Australian investigators access to the country. In an interview with SBS News and SBS Pashto, Mujahid insisted Australian authorities would need to explain who was under investigation before access was granted.

“If the Islamic Emirate believes that the investigating body is investigating the crimes with honesty, then they would consider assisting the investigation. But we don’t have the trust yet,” he told SBS radio Pashto program.

He said the Taliban will facilitate the team of investigations “once we agree and our government departments are aware of it”.

The 2020 Brereton report found credible evidence of 39 murders committed by Australian special forces (SAS) in Afghanistan — allegations revived by a Federal Court defamation ruling last week that news articles claiming Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith had murdered unarmed civilians were substantially true.

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