Today the Chief of the Defence Force spoke publicly about the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force(IGADF) Afghanistan Inquiry report findings regarding alleged misconduct by Australian Special Forces on operations in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
The Chief of the Defence Force also publicly released a version of the Afghanistan Inquiry report, parts of which have been redacted for legal and privacy reasons.
The IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry, established at the request of the Chief of the Defence Force in 2016, has been complex, extensive and lengthy.
The Afghanistan Inquiry report contains findings and recommendations about a range of very serious matters that the Chief of the Defence Force must now comprehensively respond to.
Accountability will be the cornerstone of Defence’s response to the Inquiry report.
This is crucial to maintaining the highest standards Australians expect of our military, reassuring confidence and trust, and learning from grave failings.
To ensure thorough oversight of the Defence response to the Inquiry, last week I established the Afghanistan Inquiry Implementation Oversight Panel, which will report directly and regularly to me.
This panel, led by former Inspector General of the Intelligence and Security, Dr Vivienne Thom AM, will provide further assurance to the Government and the Australian people of Defence accountability.
I also note the Prime Minister’s announcement to establish a new Office of the Special Investigator to address potential criminal matters raised by the Inquiry and investigate allegations, gather evidence and where appropriate, refer briefs to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) for consideration.
I remain proud of the men and women of the ADF who have served our nation on operations at home and around the world, and have done so with distinction.
The findings announced by the Chief of the Defence Force today should not cast a shadow on the vast majority whose contributions to the mission in Afghanistan were carried out to the highest standards demanded of them.
I am profoundly conscious this process continues to be extremely challenging and distressing for many individuals and families impacted by the Inquiry.
Defence will keep working hard to make sure people get the right support when they need it. This is the Government’s highest priority.
I strongly encourage current and former serving ADF members and their families to reach out and seek the help they need.
More information is available at: https://afghanistaninquiry.defence.gov.au/welfare-support