A leaked image of a Nazi flag flying on an Australian military vehicle that was in the process of conducting a mission in Afghanistan as part of a NATO – force deployment from back in 2007 has been condemned by the country’s PM and Jewish community, while its defense ministry says the soldiers responsible for the stunt have been “disciplined”.
As a result, it intensified recent scrutiny of Australia’s conduct in the US-led coalition in Afghanistan following which media reports state that elite soldiers may have been involved in the killing of unarmed Afghans.
The 2007 incident caused anger after the image was obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday (June 14). The image shows soldiers sitting on the vehicle with the flag hoisted up at the front.
According to reports, although two separate defense sources revealed the identity of the Aussie soldier who took the flag with him on overseas duty his details were not shared with the public.
The ABC quoted that an anonymous defence source who said that the incident had been meant as a “twisted joke”, rather than a sign of support for neo-Nazism. However, the country’s PM Malcolm Turnbull failed to agree with this viewpoint, calling the display “completely and utterly unacceptable”.
Australia’s defense department noted that, following the incident, the red swastika flag was destroyed, while those who witnessed the display received serious counselling.
Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission Dvir Abramovich in an interview with the Sunday Herald stated: “The flying of the Nazi flag, the most evil symbol in the history of mankind, by our soldiers is a slap in the face to the Diggers who fought valiantly and died to defeat Hitler.”