Declassified defence pictures taken after a fierce battle towards the Taliban in Afghanistan reveal among the techniques utilized by the enemy in Australia’s longest conflict.
The photographs had been taken after Particular Air Service troopers stormed a compound known as Whiskey 108 at Kakarak in southern Afghanistan earlier than it was destroyed by a 500-pound bomb 12 years in the past.
They had been launched by the Federal Courtroom the place Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith is suing 9 newspapers over a collection of articles which portrayed him as a conflict prison.
The photographs present a hidden tunnel system dug by the Taliban, a suicide vest and an Apache helicopter rocket which the insurgents use in improvised explosive gadgets.
A big amount of batteries, used as receivers and detonators for IEDs, was additionally positioned in addition to firearms together with a machine gun and buried 83mm rockets.
Declassified defence pictures taken after a fierce battle towards the Taliban in Afghanistan reveal among the techniques utilized by the enemy in Australia’s longest conflict. Pictured is a suicide vest with a Russian or Chinese language made grenade within the pocket
The suicide vest and different weapons had been discovered on this tunnel. Mr Roberts-Smith has denied two Afghan males had been discovered within the hideaway and shot lifeless after surrendering. He advised the Federal Courtroom the boys had been killed in battle
Ben Roberts-Smith says he shot a one-legged man armed with the bolt-action .303 rifle at far left and one other soldier shot lifeless an rebel carrying the PK machine gun at far proper
Mr Roberts-Smith, pictured with kids in Afghanistan, is suing 9 newspapers over a collection of articles which portrayed him as a conflict prison
9 alleges Mr Roberts-Smith murdered a Afghan prisoner with a prosthetic leg through the battle. He says he lawfully shot lifeless an armed rebel.
Mr Roberts-Smith has additionally denied ordering a junior SAS member to kill a second Afghan in a ‘blooding’ customized throughout the identical operation on April 12, 2009.
As a substitute, he mentioned an SAS trooper shot an rebel armed with a machine gun within the engagement.
The mission was a part of what grew to become generally known as the second battle of Kakarak, which adopted an earlier main engagement within the space on March 16.
On the time, Kakarak was thought-about one of many final Taliban outposts in that area of Uruzgan province and the insurgents sustained heavy casualties in each battles.
The SAS supported infantry troops within the second battle, which noticed among the most sustained preventing by typical Australians forces for the reason that Vietnam Warfare.
One Australian was killed within the first battle and none within the second, whereas the operation considerably disrupted rebel actions within the space.
Three years in the past 9 revealed claims Mr Roberts-Smith had carried the person with the prosthetic leg outdoors the compound, threw him on the bottom and shot him 10 to fifteen occasions with a machine gun.
9 alleges Mr Roberts-Smith executed a prisoner who has present in a tunnel. He says he shot an armed rebel and the tunnel was empty of individuals
Batteries and loaded rifle magazines had been uncovered when Whiskey 108 was searched
An Australian solider holds a 12.7mm rocket from an Apache helicopter discovered through the search of the compound
Mr Roberts-Smith mentioned he had shot the person, who was armed with a bolt-action rifle, with a two-round burst when he was already outdoors the compound.
He mentioned if the person had been shot 10 to fifteen occasions his accidents would have been way more substantial than what was proven in pictures and he couldn’t probably have carried him when he was already wielding a machine gun.
He didn’t know the person had a pretend leg till after the combat however mentioned it was common for insurgents to have lacking limbs and it had not impeded the fighter in battle.
Barrister Nicholas Owens SC for 9 put it to Mr Roberts-Smith that each Afghan males killed by the SAS had been in truth present in a tunnel within the compound and brought prisoner after surrendering.
Mr Owens mentioned a solder known as Particular person 5 had advised a soldier known as Particular person 4 to shoot one of many prisoners, an previous man carrying a white gown. ‘That is fully false,’ Mr Roberts-Smith responded.
Mr Owens mentioned Mr Roberts-Smith or Particular person 4 had requested to borrow a suppressor to silence one among their weapons from a soldier known as Particular person 41.
A tunnel system below the compound contained bedding together with a quilt and sheets
Rockets from US Apache assault helicopters had been seized by the Taliban and used as improvised explosive machine parts
A search of the compound revealed magazines for assault rifles and ammunition belts
Australian troopers discovered 83mm rockets buried throughout the compound after the raid. One is pictured
He claimed Mr Roberts-Smith pressured the previous man to kneel on the bottom and advised Particular person 4, ‘Shoot him’. Mr Roberts-Smith denied all of it. ‘That’s fully false.’
Mr Owens put to Mr Roberts-Smith that when he realised Particular person 4 had seen the execution he requested him, ‘Are we cool?’ Mr Roberts-Smith replied: ‘No, that is a lie.’
Mr Roberts-Smith mentioned no Afghans had been present in a tunnel found contained in the compound or taken prisoner and Particular person 5 had not mentioned ‘blooding rookies’.
He mentioned the primary time he had heard the time period ‘blooding’ was a number of years in the past when it was being ‘bandied round’ concerning the time 9 newspapers had been making allegations of conflict crimes towards him.
Requested how he felt about being accused of not intervening when a captured Afghani was executed he mentioned: ‘It makes me indignant is how I really feel.’
Mr Roberts-Smith mentioned till the trial started he had not heard anybody accuse him in individual of killing prisoners. ‘I’ve solely ever learn it within the paper, as a result of nobody has ever mentioned it to my face,’ he mentioned.
‘However I heard it as we speak and… it makes me really feel very, very disillusioned as a result of the fact for me is that’s so removed from the reality it is not humorous.
‘My life has been about preventing for my nation and preventing honourably, and I’ve to take heed to that be mentioned about me – and have achieved for 3 years – with nobody checking anybody on it. It is ridiculous.’
An Australian solider is pictured with an assault rifle discovered after the assault on Whiskey 108
Giant portions of batteries had been discovered after the raid on Whiskey 108. Batteries are utilized in receivers and detonators for improvised explosive gadgets
Mr Roberts-Smith says one among his fellow SAS troopers shot lifeless an Afghan rebel armed with this PK machine gun
Mr Owens mentioned Mr Roberts-Smith took the bolt motion rifle and a machine gun present in a weapons cache contained in the compound and planted them on the lifeless our bodies.
‘You used these [weapons] as a canopy story for these two killings,’ Mr Owens mentioned.
‘No, that’s false,’ Mr Roberts-Smith replied.
Mr Roberts-Smith mentioned he realised after the battle the person he killed had a pretend limb.
A Taliban commander had notoriously hidden explosives inside his prosthetic leg so it was necessary this one be eliminated and searched.
A soldier generally known as Particular person 6 who the trial has heard was one among Mr Roberts-Smith’s ‘enemies’, later souvenired the leg as a conflict trophy.
‘He mentioned he simply wished to take it again,’ Mr Roberts-Smith advised the court docket. ‘I mentioned, “‘Why? Why do not we simply depart it?” Mainly he simply advised me to f*** off.’
It’s not disputed the leg was saved on the SAS base and used as a consuming vessel on the regiment’s unofficial bar, the Fats Girl’s Arms.
A soldier generally known as Particular person 6 is proven with the lifeless Afghan’s prosthetic leg strapped to his again. The taking of conflict trophies from enemy combatants is forbidden
Ben Roberts-Smith has mentioned he by no means drank from the prosthetic leg however didn’t thoughts different troopers doing so. He’s pictured with a soldier consuming from the leg
Barrister Bruce McClintock SC, for Mr Roberts-Smith, has mentioned the utilizing the leg as a beer mug may appear in dangerous style, ‘however within the scheme of human wickedness it doesn’t fee very excessive’.
Mr Roberts-Smith has all the time denied having drunk from the hole limb however didn’t have an issue with different SAS troopers doing so.
‘Look, I did not have a sense a method or one other about it,’ he advised the Federal Courtroom on Thursday. ‘My view was we’re on the market doing a job you can not clarify to individuals.’
It was a manner for troopers to decompress and an accepted a part of the SAS tradition in Afghanistan. He had cheered on different troopers once they drank from the vessel.
‘You’ll be able to’t clarify to individuals why that grew to become, you realize, the mascot, in the event you like.
‘It was a major battle that day. It meant one thing to the troop, and it was about esprit de corps and simply individuals having the ability to let go of among the demons that they take care of.’
Mr Roberts-Smith mentioned he owned two glasses formed just like the prosthetic leg which had been given to members of his squadron and engraved with its quantity.
After this image was taken by a drone Whiskey 108 was destroyed by a 500-pound bomb