The Afghanistan Inquiry was initiated by Defence in 2016 to determine whether there was any substance to rumours and allegations relating to possible breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict by members of Australia’s Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan over the period 2005 to 2016.

The Inquiry was conducted by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF). It was an administrative inquiry, not a criminal investigation.

Afghanistan Inquiry witnesses had access to legal and welfare support before, during and following their interviews.

About the Afghanistan Inquiry

The IGADF conducted an inquiry into rumours and allegations relating to possible breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict by members of Australia’s Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan over the period 2005 to 2016.

The Afghanistan Inquiry was initiated by Defence in 2016 to determine whether there was any substance to the rumours and allegations.

The Inquiry was conducted at arm’s length from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) chain-of-command and Government to ensure the independence and integrity of the process.

The Inquiry was an administrative inquiry, not a criminal investigation.

In late 2015, the then Special Operations Commander for Australia, Major General Jeff Sengelman, became aware of a number of serious rumours and allegations relating to the conduct of members of the Special Operations Task Group during operations in Afghanistan.

In May 2016, the IGADF commenced a scoping inquiry following a request from the then Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell.

Defence strongly supported the Afghanistan Inquiry, which was conducted at arm’s length from both the ADF chain-of-command and Government to ensure the independence and integrity of what are well-established and rigorous processes.

The Inquiry has concluded. On 6 November 2020, the Chief of the Defence Force received the Inquiry report from the IGADF, and he announced the findings on 19 November 2020.

A public release version of the Afghanistan Inquiry report (commonly referred to as the Brereton report) was released by the Chief of the Defence Force on 19 November 2020.

Defence is being as transparent as possible about the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry.

However, Defence is unable to identify specific incidents or individuals for privacy reasons and to preserve the integrity of potential future criminal investigations and/or prosecutions.

Conduct of the Afghanistan Inquiry

The Afghanistan Inquiry was conducted by the IGADF.

The Inquiry team was led by Assistant IGADF, NSW Supreme Court Justice and Army Reserve Major General the Honourable Paul Brereton, AM, RFD.

The Inquiry was conducted at arm’s length from the Australian Defence Force chain-of-command and Government to ensure the independence and integrity of the process.

The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) is a statutory office holder appointed by the Minister for Defence under the Defence Act 1903 and is independent of the ADF chain-of-command.

The IGADF performs an important governance and oversight role in relation to certain ADF activities and processes, including the military justice system, and provides centralised, independent and dedicated complaint handling, review, audit and inquiry functions.

Visit IGADF for more information.

The Afghanistan Inquiry was conducted in private because it involved matters of operational security, protected identities and the reputations of individuals which may be unfairly harmed by publication.

Afghanistan Inquiry witnesses had access to legal assistance and welfare support before, during and following their interviews.

Welfare support continues to be available.

Visit Welfare support for more information.