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Iran Press TV

China: Australia overreaction meant to deflect attention from Afghan atrocities

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 01 December 2020 10:45 AM

The Chinese Embassy in Australia has dismissed as "overreaction" Canberra's rage over a recent tweet by a Chinese official showing a digitally-altered image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child.

"The rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but misreading of and overreaction to Mr. Zhao's tweet," read a Tuesday statement by the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, referring to Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

The statement confirmed that Australia's Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Marise Payne had called Ambassador Cheng Jingye on Monday to complain about the post, insisting however that Cheng had "refuted the unwarranted accusations as absolutely unacceptable."

Australia is seeking to "stoke domestic nationalism" and "deflect public attention from the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers (in Afghanistan)," it added.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday blasted the tweet posted by Zhao as "truly repugnant" and demanded an apology.

The development came after an independent probe into allegations of war crimes by Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan found that 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians had been murdered by Australian troops.

Photo shows Aussie troop drinking out of dead militant's prosthetic leg

In a related development, The Guardian published photos of senior Australian special forces soldiers drinking beer out of the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban militant at an illegal bar in Afghanistan.

According to the report, a number of photographs obtained by the daily showed one senior officer, still serving in Afghanistan, sculling from the leg in the unauthorized bar, which was set up inside Australia's Special Forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan Province, in 2009.

Another photo appeared to show two Australian soldiers performing a dance with the leg.

The report cited some Australian soldiers as saying that the practice was widely tolerated by senior officers and even involved some of them.

"This was despite the limb potentially being a war trophy — an item Australian soldiers were forbidden to remove from the battlefield, let alone keep," the report emphasized.

Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman also underlined last week that the report about the criminal conduct of Australian armed forces "fully exposed the hypocrisy of the human rights and freedom these Western countries are always chanting."

Australia, which is not a member of NATO, has had an active role in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

In May, it deployed an additional 30 military forces to Afghanistan to join the NATO-led mission against the Taliban, bringing its total Afghan deployment to 300 troops.

The US-led invasion removed the Taliban from power but has failed to halt their activities across the country. The ongoing chaos has also paved the way for the Daesh terror group to gain a foothold in Afghanistan's east.

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