Soldier drinking beer out of dead Taliban’s prosthetic leg

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Senior Australian special forces soldiers drank beer out of the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban soldier at an unauthorised bar in Afghanistan – with a photograph of the act being revealed for the first time by Guardian Australia.

A number of photographs obtained by the Guardian show one senior soldier – who is still serving – sculling from the leg in an unofficial bar known as the Fat Lady’s Arms, which was set up inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province, in 2009.

Another appears to show two soldiers performing a dance with the leg.

The sculling picture is the first to be published that confirms previous reports of the practice of using the leg as a drinking vessel.

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 Australian soldiers were forbidden to remove from the battlefield, let alone keep.

The situation has angered rank-and-file soldiers who say they have been unfairly criticised in the Brereton report for embracing such a culture and practices despite officers being aware of them for years. The Brereton report found a “warrior culture” had contributed to an environment in which war crimes were allegedly committed.

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.

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.

 

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