Australia's most decorated soldier investigated
Two soldiers from Australia's special forces have accused Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith of involvement in the death of a detainee in Afghanistan, which sources claim is now the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation.
In a special investigation by The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes, the soldiers alleged Mr Roberts-Smith kicked a handcuffed Afghan farmer named Ali Jan off a cliff.
The soldiers also said Mr Roberts-Smith, Australia's most decorated soldier, was present when the decision was made for another soldier to shoot the detainee in the head.
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The incident is alleged to have occurred in the village of Darwan, in the Oruzgan province, in September 2012.
Mr Roberts-Smith has "categorically denied" the allegations against him.
Special forces soldiers had been searching for the rogue Afghan sergeant Hekmatullah, who murdered three Australians in an insider attack.
Journalist Nick McKenzie asked one of the soldiers, who cannot be identified, who he thought had kicked Ali Jan from the cliff.
"The individual that kicked the detainee off the cliff was Ben Roberts-Smith," the soldier replied.
60 Minutes reported Mr Roberts-Smith's alleged actions are the subject of an AFP criminal investigation.
The AFP confirmed last week it had sent detectives to Afghanistan to interview potential witnesses to the death of Ali Jan.
The death of Ali Jan is just one of multiple potential war crimes that are being scrutinised by two Australian investigations.
60 Minutes claimed another commando has confessed to shooting a prisoner of war in the head.
A separate Defence inquiry is also underway into allegations of misconduct by Australian special forces soldiers in the Afghanistan war.
NSW Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton, who is also a major-general in the Army Reserve, is leading the Defence probe.
Mr Roberts-Smith, who denies the allegations, has initiated defamation proceedings against Nine, the publisher of this website, over another article in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in 2018 which first reported Mr Roberts-Smith had been accused of war crimes.
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