Pictures of a Nazi flag sticking out from an Australian army vehicle deployed in Afghanistan were vehemently condemned by Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Regardless of the fact that the pictures, which were exclusively obtained by ABC News, date back to August 2007, such behavior from his country’s military was “completely and utterly unacceptable,” Turnbull said.

“It was wrong, it was absolutely wrong and the commanders took action at the time,” Turnbull added.

ABC said in their report the pictures they had obtained were verified by experts and determined to not have been doctored or altered in any way. The authenticity of the photos was also confirmed by multiple defense sources who said they had knowledge of the occasion the flag was flown on the Australian army vehicle.

More than one of the sources also identified the soldier who had brought the flag into the Afghanistan army base as a “twisted joke.” Although the name of the soldier was not revealed, one official stressed the act was not in any way a form of neo-Nazism.

More than one picture was, however, circulated among the soldiers present at the site at the time.

A spokesperson of the Australian army assured in a statement to the publication every warranted action was taken following the incident to ensure such behavior was not repeated in the future.

“The flag was briefly raised above an Australian Army vehicle in Afghanistan in 2007. The commander took immediate action to have the offensive flag taken down. It is totally inappropriate for any ADF vehicle or company to have a flag of this nature. The personnel involved were immediately cautioned at the time and subsequently received further counselling,” the statement said.

The statement added: “Additionally, steps were taken to reinforce education and training for all personnel who witnessed the flag.”

The spokesperson’s remarks were echoed by Vice Chief of Defence, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs.

“I think the important thing is the situation was dealt with quickly — the flag was removed," he said. "And, what I can say we've learnt subsequently, is that when the patrol returned to its base, the flag was destroyed."

However, the question as to how long the flag was up on the military vehicle is debatable as one of the defense sources reportedly said it was flying for “prolonged period.”

The act of flying a Nazi flag by the Australian army – even as a joke – was heavily criticized by Jewish Australian civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC). The agency characterized such behavior as “deeply troubling,” adding it insulted the sacrifices of the countless Australian servicemen and women in the past.

“The flying of the Nazi flag, the most evil symbol in the history of mankind, by our soldiers is a slap in the face to the diggers who fought valiantly and died to defeat Hitler,” ADC chairman Dr. Dvir Abramovich said. “At a time of escalating anti-Semitism and intolerance, this vile display of bigotry is a reminder of the ever-present need for people of good to speak out against such abhorrence, and that racism is still rampant in parts of our society.”

Nazi Flag Pictures of Nazi flag sticking out from an Australian army vehicle deployed in Afghanistan were vehemently condemned by Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. In this photo, an American Nazi party member arrives carrying a Nazi flag for an American Nazi rally at Valley Forge National Park in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Sept. 25, 2004. Photo: Getty Images/ William Thomas Cain