Australian soldiers have been caught flying a Nazi flag from their vehicle while conducting a mission in Afghanistan, according to a photo obtained by ABC.
The photo of the troops deployed in the framework of the NATO operation in the war torn country was taken in 2007.
“The ABC has obtained two separate expert analyses of the photograph.
Both concluded with a high degree of confidence — near certainty — that the image has not been digitally altered.
Other than magnifying the image and cropping its exterior margins, the ABC has not edited or manipulated the photograph in any way.
The ABC has seen a second photograph of the flag, and it is understood that further images of the flag in Afghanistan have also been circulated among Australian soldiers,” ABC says in its article on the issue.
A defence source aware of the situation told ABC that the Nazi flag issue was a “twisted joke”, rather than evidence or an expression of genuine neo-Nazism. However, the source added the flag was up for a “prolonged period”.
However, Vice Chief of Defence, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, has his own version of the situation.
“I think the important thing is the situation was dealt with quickly — the flag was removed,” Vice Admiral Griggs said. “And, what I can say we’ve learnt subsequently, is that when the patrol returned to its base, the flag was destroyed.”
This is not the first scandal involving Australian forces in June.
Earlier, a secret defense report published by Fairfax Media revealed that Australian troops had allegedly committed war crimes engaging in “unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations” with }a disregard for human dignity” in Afghanistan.