The Chief of the Defence Force has paused any internal disciplinary measures for senior army officers who failed to prevent alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, as the ADF waits for an official external investigation to be completed — something that could take years.
General Angus Campbell's move last year followed an edict from Defence Minister Peter Dutton that the ADF wait for lengthy criminal investigations to conclude before commanders faced any internal military consequences for wrongdoing that occurred under their command.
According to Freedom of Information documents obtained by the Australian newspaper, a further 21 personnel who served in Afghanistan have been told they should "learn from their experiences".
Australia's Defence Force Chief has paused internal disciplinary measures for senior army officers who failed to prevent alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, pending the completion of an external investigation that could take years.
According to three Defence sources with knowledge of the situation, Langford had for some months felt that his position had become untenable.
Langford was under review for a potential “administrative censure” over an alleged lack of oversight as the special forces commander, but sources confirmed that this was never finalised and did not lead to him being sacked. However, Langford has told close confidants that he was then left with the impression that he had to go.
The fallout has escalated tensions inside the Australian Defence Force, with some soldiers believing Langford was mistreated while the top brass has avoided any scrutiny.