News National Afghanistan report on soldiers to be released within months

Afghanistan report on soldiers to be released within months

Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith during his days in Afghanistan. Photo: AAP/AWM
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A report into allegations about the activities of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan will be released within months.

Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester was responding to media reports which have raised questions about Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith’s time in Afghanistan.

“It is well known that the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force is carrying out an inquiry into activities in Afghanistan,” Mr Chester told Sky News on Monday.

“That inquiry should be able to take its course, and that will be reported back to the Australian Defence Force, I understand, in a matter of months.”

Mr Chester said the now retired Mr Roberts was a “genuine war hero” with an exalted position in Australian life.

Mr Roberts-Smith said on Sunday he would “vigorously” defend himself against allegations raised in media reports and plans to launch defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media.

He was thrust into the national spotlight in 2011 when he was awarded the Victoria Cross – Australia’s highest military honour – for bravery under fire in Afghanistan.