‘No one watching’: Rogue Aussie joined Taliban kill missions
EXCLUSIVE: A decorated former top Special Forces soldier has revealed his Afghanistan deployment was so dull and poorly supervised, he was able to effectively go rogue and loan himself out to foreign armies for Taliban kill missions.
The ADF and Department of Defence has launched an inquiry into the extraordinary admissions the former 2nd Commando Regiment Warrant Officer - known as "H" - made in a podcast series where he reveals the lengths he went to take his war off-books.
His recordings provide rare insight into the culture and missions of the Special Forces at a time they and their operations are under federal authority scrutiny for potential war crimes.
Among his claims was how when he arrived in Afghanistan with the ADF he purchased a phone and a laptop on the black market and created a Hotmail account specifically to spruik for in-country foreign force missions.
He details, on the popular Life on the Line military veterans podcast series, how he then fudged his way into coalition operational security briefings and went on unsanctioned Australian missions with counterpart forces including from Italy, Germany, Canada and local Afghanis for up to three weeks in the month.
The now Queensland-based former soldier would disappear for days on these other missions such was, according to him, the lack of ADF and 2 Commando direction and "very, very little supervision" during that 2008 deployment.
According to H, the now head of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr who was a commander in Afghanistan at the time eventually discovered only by accident his off-books war fighting when foreign forces asked the general for more Aussie troops like 'H'.
"No-one knew really what I was doing and it wasn't in the traditional sense properly authorised or waved with some wand from above … I got a bit of a kick in the arse over it but nothing really happened," he said, conceding he was addicted to combat as a drug.
He added one had to have an element of crazy to do SF actions and the competitiveness between troops forced extreme actions.
He details missions including harrowing fire fights which he conceded was "bad PR" when Red Cross visited to record a pile up of bodies, rescuing kidnapped Afghan forces and his mates' joking how he got the first kill as sergeant major.
The podcast comes at a bad time for Australian Special Forces whose activities in Afghanistan are under investigation, notably for the culture and discipline that allegedly led to unlawful killings and war crimes.
The four-year ADF Inspector General inquiry has 55 incidents under probe. There is no suggestion H's alleged activities form any part of the brief. Defence this week confirmed it was aware of the podcast and a separate investigation was underway into the claims.
"Defence was not aware of, and does not condone, the alleged behaviours and actions described by the interviewee in the 'Life on the Line' podcast, episode #54, 'H', Vol IV," a spokesman told News Corp Australia.
"The behaviours and actions described in the podcast are inconsistent with Defence values."
They declined to comment on what General Burr knew or not at the time.
"H", whose name is protected, yesterday declined to formally comment but stood by his five part podcast commentary.
Life on the Line interviewer Alex Lloyd said the podcast series gave a voice to veterans to tell their story and were their individual views and were not necessarily reflective of the broader ADF.
He said H's views and action could be judged on merit at an individual's level.
"It is my mission statement to provide veterans with a platform first and foremost, an unfiltered microphone to give insight and perspective for the civilian population," he said.
"We are giving veterans a voice to share their experience for the average civilian to know what they went through, whatever that context and circumstances were."
Originally published as 'No one watching': Rogue Aussie joined Taliban kill missions