The Guardian Australia has revealed a photo of an alleged Australian special forces soldier drinking beer out of the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban soldier in a bar in Afghanistan.
The soldier purportedly depicted in the photo is still in the military, according to The Guardian. The scene is taking place at the bar Fat Lady’s Arms - an unofficial pub set up inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt in 2009.
#EXCLUSIVE: for the first time, @GuardianAus can reveal a picture of Australian soldiers drinking from the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban fighter, confirming the practice took place in the Tarin Kowt special forces base in 2009 https://t.co/tX98rSyTSR— Dave Earley (@earleyedition) December 1, 2020
Story by @rory_callinan pic.twitter.com/1r1DwRhOOB
Another photo purportedly shows two soldiers dancing with the leg, which is believed to belong to a Taliban fighter killed during an assault on two compounds and a tunnel complex at Kakarak in Uruzgan in April 2009.
Following the operation, the prosthetic leg was placed at the Fat Lady’s Arms and travelled along with the squadron.
“Wherever the Fat Lady’s Arms was set up, then that’s where the leg was kept and used occasionally for drinking out of", one former trooper told The Guardian.
This comes two weeks after Australian Army chief Angus Campbell released a report implicating the Australian military of war crimes in Afghanistan. It contains data about 39 counts of murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by elite Australian troops between 2005 and 2016.
The chief of the defence force has apologised to the Afghan people on behalf of Australia, describing the actions of the servicemen involved in crimes as "disgraceful" and "a profound betrayal" of the Australian military.
Australian Army veterans, however, have expressed anger over the report’s failure to target high-level commanders, suggesting there was "no way" for the latter not to have been aware of the suspected war crimes being engaged in by their subordinates.