ADF must 'own' Afghan findings: general

Colin Brinsden
·1-min read

Chief of Defence Angus Campbell has warned if the defence force doesn't 'own' the Brereton report on Australian war crimes and fix them, this horror may happen again.

The report from Justice Brereton released last week found that 39 Afghans were allegedly murdered by Australian special forces in 23 incidents.

"I want the ADF to acknowledge that this is something we've got to own because if we don't own it, we won't fix it and if we don't fix it, this horror may appear again," he told ABC TV.

"I just cannot accept that."

The report highlights officers in command roles in the special operations task group had a responsibility to deal with issues and to completely and openly report them, General Campbell said.

He committed to be held to account to make sure the report is dealt with thoroughly and also for his duty and performance as the commander in the Middle East in 2011.

"There is no shortage of officers, senior, non-commission officers and soldiers, who are looking at this report and reflecting on their part in this story and it is not a good story at all," he said.

General Campbell concedes special forces have been busy over the past 20 years in wide range of roles and responsibilities and operational commitments.

"In terms of their role in Afghanistan, there were aspects right from the start and all the way through that campaign which necessarily had to be done by special forces capability," General Campbell said.

"But there are other elements that Justice Brereton refers to that in hindsight perhaps we should have seen rotated to other elements of the force earlier."