Findings and recommendations FAQ

The Afghanistan Inquiry found credible information of 23 incidents of the alleged unlawful killing of 39 individuals.

The Inquiry also made findings in relation to significant and sustained departures from the Australian Defence Force's professional standards by members of the Special Operations Task Group, including: unacceptable behaviour, the submission of false operational reporting and deliberate actions to misrepresent operations that were undertaken.

The Inquiry made a broad range of findings and 143 recommendations. The recommendations are being addressed through the Defence response to the Afghanistan Inquiry.

Findings

The Afghanistan Inquiry found that there was credible information of 23 incidents involving the alleged unlawful killing of 39 individuals.

The Inspector-General examined the period of 2005 to 2016 and found credible information of incidents of alleged unlawful killings that took place in 2009 and 2010 with the majority occurring in the latter years of 2012 and 2013. 

The identities of individuals and details of incidents have been redacted from the publicly released version of the Inquiry report for security, privacy and legal reasons.

The Inquiry also made findings in relation to significant and sustained departures from the Australian Defence Force's professional standards by members of the Special Operations Task Group, including:

  • unacceptable behaviour;
  • the submission of false operational reporting; and
  • deliberate actions to misrepresent operations that were undertaken.

Recommendations

The Afghanistan Inquiry report contains 143 recommendations. The recommendations related to the following areas:

ThemeNumber
Criminal referral40
Compensation15
Further inquiry7
Consideration of immunity7
Policy and doctrine review12
Honour and award review7
Administrative action5
Training revision9
Apology1
Organisation structure change4
Workforce management actions2
No further action34
Total recommendations143

At this time, Defence has implemented the required action to close 124 of the 143 recommendations.

Incidents and issues*NumberCredible informationNot substantiated
Incidents and issues inquired into detail572928
Inquiry discontinued**12  
Inquiry unfinished***10  
Total incidents79  
Credible information of unlawful killingNumber
Incidents involving alleged unlawful killing23
People allegedly unlawfully killed39
Matters recommended for referral36
Current and former serving ADF members alleged to have been involved25
Criminal investigationNumber
Current and former serving ADF members recommended for referral19
Current and former serving ADF members not recommended for referral6

*An incident or issue may include one or more acts of misconduct by one or more individuals.

**The Inquiry did not pursue all incidents and issues brought to its attention by anonymous informants or via submissions. Generally the Inquiry did not reopen matters that had already been inquired into or investigated unless evidence emerged which cast doubt on previous findings.

***Inquiry into some incidents was unfinished at the time of reporting for various reasons including inability to interview relevant witnesses or the late emergence of information.

The Afghanistan Inquiry report makes no adverse recommendations with regard to:

  • Australia’s foreign military relationships
  • foreign military organisations
  • foreign service personnel.

Following the release of the Afghanistan Inquiry report, Defence was notified by the United States Embassy on 12 March 2021 that the Australian Defence Force may be subject to the Leahy Law as a result of the report’s findings. 

The United States has legislative requirements under Leahy Law to ensure funding is not used for any training, equipment or other assistance for a foreign security force unit where there is credible information of gross violations of human rights. 

There are exceptions to this restriction under Leahy Law that allow for ‘remediation’ of a unit and the resumption of US funding.

Remediation involves a process through which US authorities make a formal determination that the government of the country whose security force unit is considered to have committed gross violations of human rights has taken all necessary corrective steps.

There was no discernible change to training between Australia and the United States in the period between March 2021 and April 2022 as a result of the Leahy Law.

Defence provided assurances to the United States that Defence was implementing the recommendations resulting from the Afghanistan Inquiry and the matter was closed by the United States on 17 March 2022.