Australian special forces killed as many as ten unarmed Afghan civilians during a 2012 operation in Kandahar Province, an ABC Investigation has revealed.
The raid is believed to be the worst one-day death toll uncovered to date of alleged unlawful killings by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
Citing Afghan witnesses and Australian sources, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation report said the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) operation left a number of Taliban dead.
But it also quoted both sources as making strong claims that civilians had equally been shot during the “frenzied raid”, including a group of unarmed villagers near a tractor.
Australian sources confirmed a number of civilians were killed that day, but could not determine the exact number, telling the ABC there were up to ten suspicious killings with another five Taliban dead.
The ABC says it has obtained a list of names of eleven civilians that the villagers of Sara Aw say were killed in the December 2012 operation led by Zulu 1 and Zulu 2 patrols of the SAS.
The SAS was accompanied during the said raid by Afghan special forces known as the Wakunish.
The Australian government, whose forces are part of a dwindling US-led anti-Taliban coalition, has said it will soon release the outcome of an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by its troops in Afghanistan.