Australian special forces ‘killed Afghan’, used his prosthetic leg as a cup
The war crime allegation is one of several against the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) team deployed to Afghanistan.
Details of the incident, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, claim that an older man with a prosthetic leg was machine-gunned by a young soldier at a compound in the province of Oruzgan in 2009. The soldier was said to be incited by his comrades as part of a concept called ‘blooding rookies.’
The victim was considered part of the Taliban but posed no threat at the time of the shooting, according to the report, written by journalist Chris Masters who was embedded with SASR, and corroborated by special forces insiders.
The prosthetic leg was then brought back to Perth by the Australian forces, where it was allegedly used as a vessel to drink beer. A picture obtained by Fairfax showed the leg mounted onto a board reading “Das Boot”.
The soldier in question is also implicated in the killing of a handcuffed detainee during a SASR mission in the village of Darwan in 2012. He is accused of kicking a man off a cliff, badly injuring his face, before following requests from other soldiers to “get him out of his misery". The claims have been backed by special force insiders as well as the man’s family.
Fairfax, which carried out a six-month investigation into a string of alleged war crimes by members of SASR, did not identify the soldiers involved in its reports.
Australian Defence Forces are already conducting an inquiry into allegations of inappropriate and potentially unlawful behavior by its elite forces in Afghanistan. The two-year investigation is examining reports of possible war crimes committed by troops between 2005 and 2016. Despite this, Defence Force Chief Mark Binskin says he has no concerns about rogue elements in the elite unit.
Earlier this week a photo of a Nazi flag on an Australian military vehicle in Afghanistan, taken in 2007, was obtained and published by ABC. The photo shows the large swastika emblem hoisted over a vehicle from the same elite squadron.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the flag incident as “completely and utterly unacceptable” and said the soldiers involved had been disciplined.