Police executed a search warrant targeting three journalists involved in a two-year investigative report.
DESPARDES News Monitor — The Australian Federal Police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of the country’s public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), in connection with a story the network broadcast in 2017 detailing misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan where US-led Nato forces are engaged in the 18-year-old never ending war.
The plainclothes officers arrived at the network’s offices before noon, acting on a search warrant authorizing them to look into allegations of publishing “classified material” in relation to the story “The Afghan Files” that was based on leaked Australian defense ministry documents, the ABC reports.
The 2017 report uncovered allegations of unlawful killings of unarmed civilians, including children, and other misconduct by Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan. It also quoted from military documents that expressed concern about a deterioration of organizational culture within the elite special forces and a “willingness by officers to turn a blind eye to bad behavior.”
The public network says authorities copied hard drives and said “they want[ed] to search through email systems in relation to the people mentioned in the search warrant and were searching ‘data holdings’ between April 2016 and July 2017.”
The network’s news director, Gaven Morris, praised reporters Daniel Oakes and Sam Clark, who produced “The Afghan Files.” In a tweet, he called them “two of the finest journalists” who are “honest and committed to telling the truth in the Australian public’s interests.”
The damning report and the raid comes as the Trump Administration is engaged in talks with the Taliban for withdrawal and peace.
The United States is scheduled to hold another round of meetings with the Taliban this month in Qatar in a fresh bid to end the deadlock in talks, while reaching out to regional stakeholders, including Pakistan, for assistance.
US wants Pakistan to urge Taliban to show ‘more flexibility’ in dialogue, reports VOA News.