The burly commando saunters down the porn-lined hallway of the lodging block, a can of Crimson Bull in his hand.
- A video filmed by an Australian soldier in 2012 exhibits commandos in Afghanistan discussing a “quota”
- One other video exhibits a soldier firing from a helicopter at what look like unarmed civilians
- A 3rd video exhibits two Australian commandos watching on as an Afghan soldier beats a person who’s cowering on the bottom
“Remaining ideas whereas we rock out pre-job?” asks his Australian comrade holding the digital camera.
The commando stops, leans over, and props his elbow on a shelf. By the inexperienced and black camouflage paint smeared on his face, his eyes lock on the digital camera.
“I imagine we’ll get the quota,” he says calmly.
“Woo!” cheers one other commando behind him as two others holler within the background. “The quota! The quota have to be met,” says the soldier holding the digital camera.
It’s late 2012, and the Taliban enemy exhibits no signal of wavering. Not like the Australian commandos, the Taliban insurgents don’t adhere to the legal guidelines of armed battle.
They put on no uniforms and conceal amongst civilians. It appears irrespective of what number of of their fighters are killed on the battlefield, extra emerge to take their place.
Within the 11 years of battle thus far, the Taliban have already taken a heavy toll on the Australians. Throughout this rotation, the thirty ninth Australian will die in Afghanistan.
By the point Australian particular forces go away Afghanistan a 12 months later, particular forces troopers will account for about half of all Australian casualties.
On this rotation, the lads of the 2nd Commando Regiment have been concentrating on one of many major weapons utilized by the Taliban to fund its insurgency – opium.
Along with america Drug Enforcement Administration and troopers from Afghanistan’s Nationwide Interdiction Unit, they’ve hit drug lab after drug lab.
On one mission, they torch greater than a tonne of Taliban opium.
Within the video obtained by ABC Investigations, these commandos are as soon as once more getting ready to go exterior the wire on one other harmful mission and seize their preparations on digital camera for posterity.
Neither the platoon commander nor any officers look like current.
After his first interview, the commando holding the digital camera continues down the gloomy hallway of the lodging block.
“What is going on to go tonight? Prepared for ‘Operation Remaining Job’?” he asks a comrade who’s preparing in his room.
“There’s going to be some f***ing killing happening,” the soldier replies softly.
The cameraman returns to the corridor and spots a brand new interviewee.
“We’d like major kill crew. What is going on to go down tonight?”
“We have a quota of 10. The quota is 10,” he tells the cameraman.
“Will we meet the quota?”
One other commando emerges from his room and into the digital camera’s focus.
“Are we going to hit the quota tonight, huge man?”
“F*** yeah,” replies his mate. “I’ll kill just a few canines too!”
The video lasts a minute and a half and ends with the cameraman turning the lens on himself.
“Remaining job. Signing out. We will hit the quota.”
In all, there are a dozen mentions of a quota, or hitting the quota, or assembly the quota, in simply 90 seconds.
So, what’s the quota?
ABC Investigations spoke to former commandos who deployed to Afghanistan.
One says he has by no means heard the time period, is disillusioned to listen to any point out of it within the unit, and suggests it might be “guys making an attempt to show themselves”.
Others raised questions on whether or not it might check with a kill depend.
A former senior officer on that rotation instructed ABC Investigations that any speak about a quota ought to have been “a set off immediately” to stamp it out.
“You’ll be able to’t even speak like that, frankly,” the previous officer stated.
“That will be unacceptable to even joke about it. It is simply not on.”
Glenn Kolomeitz deployed as an Australian Defence Power authorized officer to Afghanistan as a part of the Particular Operations Activity Group. It was his job to counsel Australia’s SAS and commandos within the guidelines of engagement and regulation of armed battle.
“I do not for a second imagine they’re speaking about some type of kill quota, not genuinely speaking about that,” Mr Kolomeitz says.
Whereas Kolomeitz holds the commandos in excessive esteem, he acknowledges that the “quota” video is not a superb look.
“That wasn’t in line with the two Commando that I knew, and that I maintain in such excessive regard,” he stated.
Not like their elite colleagues within the Particular Air Service Regiment (SAS), the commandos emerged largely unscathed from the Inspector-Common of the Australian Defence Power’s inquiry into alleged struggle crimes led by Army Reserve Main Common and NSW Supreme Courtroom Decide Paul Brereton.
However this video raises severe questions on their behaviour in Afghanistan.
The Brereton Inquiry had beforehand cited one case — understood to contain the SAS, not the commandos — during which a unit in Afghanistan was allegedly pushed to shoot prisoners so as to add to its kill depend.
“A tally board complete, and a need to take it from 18 to twenty seems linked to the deaths of two prisoners who have been shot following an explosive entry right into a compound that did not outcome within the anticipated consequence,” the report states.
A former commando has beforehand claimed that kill counts have been a measure of success for particular forces.
ABC Investigations requested Defence about kill counts.
“The Australian Defence Power doesn’t use enemy casualty numbers as a measure of efficiency, success or effectiveness, together with throughout operations in Afghanistan,” a Defence spokesperson stated.
“The publicly launched model of the Afghanistan Inquiry report briefly mentions ‘catch and launch, and the kill depend’ as one of many elements the presence of which can have contributed to an atmosphere during which deviant behaviour [in the SAS] might happen and never be recognised.”
Folks seen ducking for canopy as soldier fires from chopper
ABC Investigations has obtained hours of footage by no means seen publicly of commando operations in Afghanistan over 2011 and 2012.
One video is a highlights reel of the 2012 deployment edited and set to music by a number of the commandos themselves.
In a number of sections a soldier could be seen firing his assault rifle from a shifting helicopter at what look like unarmed civilians in residential compounds.
In one of many clips, an Afghan man could be seen ducking and looking for cowl because the commando fires his weapon from the helicopter above.
Former navy authorized officer Glenn Kolomeitz believes the incident needs to be investigated.
“It did not seem that [the Afghan] was partaking that helicopter. He gave the impression to be ducking from the mud and particles flying round him in that compound.”
“All ADF members are required to adjust to the related Guidelines of Engagement (ROE),” Defence stated in a press release.
“Defence can not talk about ROE for operational safety causes.”
Commandos watch as Afghan soldier beats man
One other video exhibits a commando patrol detaining some Afghans close to a residential compound.
The Australians had discovered a two-way radio, and with the assistance of their Afghan companion pressure they demand to know who it belongs to.
Armed with a stick, an Afghan soldier is seen beating one of many detained males who’s cowering on the bottom whereas Australian commandos watch on.
Invoking the identify of Allah, the Afghan swears the radio shouldn’t be his and that he is only a farmer.
“That is the reality, take a look at my arms,” he says.
The beating continues and the person could be heard whimpering with every blow.
The commandos proceed to look at and say nothing.
“I’ve by no means seen that earlier than,” says Mr Kolomeitz.
“The Afghan on the bottom, even when he was an rebel, he is clearly out of the struggle.
“And he is now being mistreated … and there’s an obligation on the Australians to do one thing about it.
“If that bloke wasn’t an rebel beforehand, I think he actually can be afterwards.”
Defence instructed the ABC: “Australia’s mission in Afghanistan was to help the Afghan authorities to assist comprise the specter of worldwide terrorism, and in doing so help the event of a succesful and sustainable Afghan defence pressure.”