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Chief of the Australian Defense Force General Angus Campbell delivers the findings from the Inspector-General of the Australian Defense Force Afghanistan Inquiry, in Canberra Thursday morning local time. Photo: Mick Tasikas/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Allegations that elite Australian Defense Force troops unlawfully killed 39 civilians or prisoners in Afghanistan are "credible," said ADF chief Gen. Angus Campbell, announcing findings of a long-awaited report Thursday.

Driving the news: The findings came after a four-year inquiry into alleged war crimes and misconduct by Australia's elite special forces. The report finds most of the people killed in 23 incidents were prisoners and that those who died were "non-combatants or no longer combatants."

Of note: It would be a "gross distortion" to blame senior ADF command for the alleged crimes that it found were "commenced" and "concealed at the patrol commander level."

What they're saying: None of the deaths that occurred could be "described as being in the heat of battle," Campbell noted during a news news conference in Australia's capital, Canberra.

  • "The unlawful killing of civilians and prisoners is never acceptable," Campbell said. "Today, the Australian Defense Force is rightly held to account for allegations of grave misconduct."
  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called him ahead of the report's release to express "his deepest sorrow over the misconduct by some Australian troops in Afghanistan" and assured him "of the investigations and to ensuring justice," per SBS.

Read the report findings, via DocumentCloud:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Dec 6, 2020 - World

Microwave energy likely behind illnesses of American diplomats in Cuba and China

Personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba in Havana in 2017. Photo: Sven Creutzmann/Mambo photo/Getty Images

A radio frequency energy of radiation that includes microwaves likely caused American diplomats in China and Cuba to fall ill with neurological symptoms over the past four years, a report published Saturday finds.

Why it matters: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's report does not attribute blame for the suspected attacks, but it notes there "was significant research in Russia/USSR into the effects of pulsed, rather than continuous wave [radio frequency] exposures."

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.

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