Asia - Pacific

New evidence of Australian crimes in Afghanistan out

Images show soldiers using prosthetic leg of dead suspected Taliban soldier to drink ‘beer’

Riyaz Ul Khaliq   | 01.12.2020
New evidence of Australian crimes in Afghanistan out


Disturbing new evidence emerged Tuesday that shows Australian soldiers violating the rights of Afghans during the US-led war on terror.

Photos published by the Guardian Australia shows senior Australian special forces soldiers drinking “beer out of the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban soldier.”

The image was captured in “an unauthorized bar” by the UK-based publication in the war-torn country.

A soldier in the picture still serves in the armed forces.

The unofficial bar known as the Fat Lady’s Arms, was set up in 2009 inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province.

The disclosure comes after special forces members were implicated in a war crimes inquiry on Afghanistan released last month by the Australian Defense Ministry. At least 13 soldiers have received termination notices.

The soldiers are accused of being involved in the killing of 39 Afghan civilians.

In another picture, the soldiers are seen posing with the leg.

“The leg is believed to have belonged to a suspected Taliban fighter killed during an SASR 2 squadron assault on two compounds and a tunnel complex at Kakarak in Uruzgan in April 2009,” the report said.

“It was then allegedly taken from the battlefield and kept in the Fat Lady’s Arms, where visitors would sometimes use it to drink from,” it said. “Some soldiers say the practice was widely tolerated by officers at high levels and even involved some of them. This was despite the limb potentially being a war trophy – an item Australians soldiers were forbidden to remove from the battlefield, let alone keep.”

Justice demanded

The revelations, which possibly qualify as war crimes, have triggered condemnation with many seeking justice for the victims.

Officials from Afghanistan, Turkey and China have demanded a thorough probe, saying the accused soldiers should be brought to justice.

Abdul Bari Naeemi, a human rights activist in southeastern Afghanistan where most of the Australian forces were based, told Anadolu Agency the images would only further fuel hatred toward foreign troops in Afghanistan.

“Their [foreign forces] image is already dented by the revelations [of report released by Australia],” he said. “Now these images depicting an inhuman act, would only fuel anger and enmity and prove many previously unconfirmed reports of abuses as true.”

*Shadi Khan Saif contributed to this report from Kabul, Afghanistan

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