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3 Australian commandos cleared of 6 Afghan deaths

world Updated: Aug 30, 2011 13:22 IST

AP
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Australia's defense minister says all charges have been dropped against three commandos who had faced Australian courts-martial over the deaths of five Afghan children and an adult during a raid in 2009.

Defense minister Stephen Smith told Sky television on Tuesday that the chief military prosecutor had withdrawn the final charges against the last defendant, a lieutenant colonel.

The courts-martial of two other commandos ended in May when a judge ruled they had no duty of care to the Afghans killed.

Smith says the trio are the first Australian soldiers to ever face manslaughter charges over civilian deaths in combat. Smith says he is seeking a report on why charges were laid.

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