Nine Australian soldiers took their own lives in just three weeks when a damned report of suspected war crimes in Afghanistan was published.
The four-year investigation found a "shameful record" of unlawful murders that took place outside of the "heat of battle".
An edited version of the report was released on Thursday after weeks of discussion of its content and sparked fierce global condemnation.
One female soldier and eight male soldiers – in their early 20s to 50s – have committed suicide in the past three weeks.
Brisbane Afghan war veteran Private Shane Holt committed suicide on November 16
Mr. Holt (pictured in battle) is survived by his partner and three year old son
It is believed that so many soldiers who commit suicide in such a short period of time are unprecedented in recent Australian military history.
The stress of the investigation into uncovering evidence of 39 murders by Australian special forces is believed to have played a role in some of their suicides.
"I think some media outlets (reports of alleged war crimes) have painted everyone with the same brush, and people seem to have forgotten about innocence until proven guilty – and that adds to the stress, mental health of ex-infantrymen and women Veterans. " Attorney Neil & # 39; Wally & # 39; Wallace told The Advertiser.
There is no evidence that the nine ADF members who died had anything to do with the alleged war crimes documented in the report.
Brisbane's Afghan war veteran Private Shane Holt committed suicide on November 16. He is survived by a partner and a three year old son.
Mr. Holt enlisted in the Australian Army in 2011 before being sent to Shane to successfully complete Singleton and graduated 8th-9th as an infantryman. 2nd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment.
Braiden Russell committed suicide on October 30th after only two years in the army
He was then sent to Afghanistan on the Force Protection Element in 2015.
"Shane & # 39; s soldier skills and dedication to the service were exemplary, but those traits were second to his reputation as an amazing father and his kindness and care," wrote national online community The Pineapple Express.
Air Force veteran Robert John Phillips committed suicide on November 1st.
Mr. Phillips was hired by the Royal Australian Air Force as an Airfield Defense Guard.
The 33-year-old lives in Amberley, Queensland and has two young children.
& # 39; Robert was a great buddy, the hardest worker and he was a great dad. He was a big brother to everyone, ”wrote The Pineapple Express.
& # 39; Honored and esteemed father, brother, uncle, comrade and friend. Loved forever, never forgotten. & # 39;
Braiden Russell committed suicide on October 30th after only two years in the army.
Mr. Russell trained in Singleton, NSW Hunter, and was known as "everyone's pal".
"He was the most harmless and well-meaning person of all time and had so much passion for the army," said a statement from his family.
At least 56 veterans have committed suicide since this year alone, up from 40 in 2019. Pictured: Air Force veteran Robert John Phillips, who committed suicide on November 1
"Unfortunately, our ability to subdivide things, hide our emotions and stand ahead in the face of extreme adversity and be a warrior and take the ups and downs of life at our stride takes its toll."
The last suicide occurred last Thursday.
The most recent deaths are unrelated and have no direct links to war crimes investigation.
"The number of suicides in such a short period of time is unprecedented – it is unfathomable," a former member of the Australian Defense Forces told the Courier Mail on condition of anonymity.
& # 39; We are absolutely speechless. And these are just the Defense Members and veterans we know, and don't take into account the number of suicide attempts that have occurred. & # 39;
Paul posted information about the deaths with the family's permission to raise awareness through an online national community called Pineapple Express, which works for the mental health of veterans.
At least 56 veterans have committed suicide since this year alone, up from 40 in 2019.
Adelaide Army veteran Nathan Bolton said the numbers were "tragic and devastating".
Mr. Russell trained in Singleton, NSW Hunter, and was known as "everyone's buddy".
Shane Holt joined the Australian Army in 2011 before being sent to Shane to successfully complete Singleton and was promoted to 8th / 9th as an infantryman. 2nd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment
"It's about mental health in the ADF, but it's not moving fast enough and there are still too many left behind," he said.
In the past few years, a number of often brutal reports of the behavior of elite special forces have surfaced – from reports of troops killing a six-year-old child in a house attack to a prisoner being shot for space in a house to save helicopters.
Another incident involved two 14-year-old boys who were stopped by SAS and decided they might be Taliban sympathizers.
The boy's throats were allegedly cut and their bodies packed and thrown into a nearby river.
One of the murders was described in the report as "possibly the most shameful episode in Australian military history", but details have been fully edited.
"I can't speak to the particular circumstances," said Angus Campbell, chief of the Australian Defense Forces.
& # 39; That's why it's being edited. But Justice Brereton describes something that is utterly shameful. It is true that it must be legally edited. With time, in the time of the story to be written, it becomes shameful. & # 39;
One female and eight male soldiers – in their early 20s to 50s – have committed suicide in the past three weeks. Pictured: soldiers in Afghanistan
Angus Campbell, chief of the Australian Defense Forces (pictured), apologized for the unlawful killing of prisoners, farmers and other civilians
Abdullah Abdullah, head of the National Reconciliation of the High Council in Afghanistan, slammed the alleged killings.
& # 39; There is no way to define this brutality. There is no way to explain what happened. It is incomprehensible, ”said Abdullah to the Anadolu agency.
“These are crimes against innocent people and I was shocked. At the same time, the Australian government made it very clear what happened.
Human Rights Watch Australia director Elaine Pearson said Al Jazeera's Afghan victims deserved swift and independent justice for the "deliberate and cold-blooded murders."
"Ultimately, when we talk about accountability, it shouldn't just stop with the people who pulled the trigger and killed these people in Afghanistan," she told the BBC.
“This is also about command responsibility, so I think it is very important that those who knew or should have known are also held accountable and criminally liable for these acts.
“Because, ultimately, this was a culture where murders were normalized and, in some cases, encouraged. This culture really needs to change. & # 39;
Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds said Friday the worrying allegations of "outright murder and war crimes" had made her "physically ill".
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