THE Defence Force has launched an investigation after Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan posted racist slurs about Afghans and insulted Prime Minister Julia Gillard on their Facebook pages.
One of the soldiers referred to Afghans as ''sand niggaz'' and ''dune coons'', and joked about running them over in a vehicle.
Another described an unidentified Afghan man in a photograph as a ''poof'' and said he should be butt-stroked - slang for beaten with a rifle.
Other posts joked about Afghans having sex with dogs and described locals as ''smelly''.
.....Acting Chief of Army Paul Symon said last night he was shocked by the messages, most of which were posted on publicly accessible Facebook pages.
Announcing an investigation, Major-General Symon said the material posted ''discredits the overwhelmingly positive culture demonstrated throughout our deployments in Afghanistan over the last decade.
"These soldiers have demonstrated a lack of decency and professional judgment, and brought discredit to themselves and disrepute to the Army and the ADF.''
Some of the offending material was posted alongside a photo of a street scene in Afghanistan that included a local man on a bicycle. ''Last but not least, the poof riding the girl's bike [you] should have stuck a stick in his spokes then butt stroked him. He didn't do anything, just pisses me off. Happy shooting!'' a soldier wrote."
...Australians serving in Afghanistan are able to access and update Facebook pages through wireless internet terminals at even the smallest, most-remote bases, but are told firmly what type of material can and cannot be posted.