Australian soldiers flew Nazi swastika in Afghanistan

Pictures showing the flag raised above a fighting vehicle have recently surfaced after an investigation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball said the 2007 incident was “absolutely wrong”.

He added: “The flag obviously was removed and the personnel involved were disciplined.

“It was absolutely wrong and their commanders took action at the time.”

The flag is understood to have been raised briefly before a commanding officer ordered it be taken down.

A statement from Australia’s defence department said it “rejects as abhorrent everything this flag represents”.

Australia’s defence minister, Marise Payne, said: “It is completely unacceptable to use a flag of this nature.

“This is completely at odds with the values of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the tens of thousands of ADF personnel who have served with distinction in Afghanistan.

“Neither the flag nor its use are in line with defence values.”

One defence source told ABC the incident was a “twisted joke” rather than a display of support for neo-Naziism.

The image comes after reports from the Sydney Morning Herald newspapers of Australian troops mistreating and executing prisoners between 2009 and 2012.

Australia’s defence department said the allegations were serious and are under investigation.

Australia had troops fighting in Afghanistan for 17 years during the US operations against the Taliban and Islamist militants.

It was the third largest source of special forces, after America and Britain, before combat troops were withdrawn in 2013.

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