Inquiry Officer Report released on death of Lance Corporal Andrew Jones
29 June 2012
Vice Chief of the Defence Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin today released an inquiry report on the death of Lance Corporal (LCPL) Andrew Jones.
LCPL Jones was murdered while inside Patrol Base Mashal, north of Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, on 30 May 2011.
The Inquiry Officer concluded that LCPL Jones was shot in a so-called ‘green on blue’ incident by a rogue member of the Afghan National Army – Shafied Ullah who had been recently posted to Patrol Base Mashal.
Considering the specific circumstances of this case and following consultation with the Jones family, the Minister agreed in the public interest to release this Inquiry Officer Report.
The Inquiry found the force protection measures employed at the base at the time of Lance Corporal Jones’ death were consistent with the known threat. There were no prior warnings that identified Shafied Ullah as a specific threat nor was there any prior intelligence or indication within the base to warn of the possible attack against an Australian soldier.
“The Australian personnel at the base responded in a calm and measured way in coordinating medical support for LCPL Jones and isolating evidence at the shooting scene. I highly commend their professional response in such a complex situation,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.
LCPL Jones was aeromedically evacuated to the medical facility at the Multi National Base Tarin Kot but died of his wounds despite the best efforts of specialist staff.
The ANA members at Patrol Base Mashal were visibly upset that one of their troops had killed an ADF member and they willingly participated in joint patrols to locate Shafied Ullah in the local area over a period of several days. Three weeks after LCPL Jones died, coalition troops located Shafied Ullah at a house in Khost. Ullah was shot and killed when he threatened coalition forces with a weapon as they attempted to detain him.
Immediately following the death of LCPL Jones, Defence took action to review tactical force protection measures and took into account lessons learned by Coalition partners. The force protection review determined it was highly unlikely that a higher force protection posture would have changed the circumstances in which LCPL Jones was shot. This review of force protection determined that major changes were not warranted.
The Inquiry Officer made 32 findings. All the findings except one are available in the released version of the Inquiry report. One has been redacted to preserve operational security.
The Inquiry found no identified weaknesses or deficiencies in Defence systems, policies, equipment practices, procedures and training which contributed to the death of LCPL Jones.
The Inquiry Officer made two recommendations in his report. The Chief of the Defence Force has agreed to both recommendations which are being implemented.
For operational security reasons, details of the first recommendation cannot be publicly released. The second recommendation was that appointing a Commission of Inquiry into the death of LCPL Jones was not warranted.
“LCPL Andrew Jones was a popular member of his unit, a dedicated soldier who died tragically while serving his country. An operational death is difficult to accept under any circumstances, but particularly so, when it is caused by someone we were mentoring,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.
“The deaths of LCPL Jones and the tragic deaths of other ADF members will not change our resolve and commitment to helping the Afghan security forces build their capacity, so that they can play a crucial role in the future stability of their nation.”
“I offer my thoughts and sympathy to the family and colleagues of LCPL Jones,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.
Defence asks that media respect the Jones family’s request for privacy.
The Inquiry Officer report is available at: http://www.Defence.gov.au/COI/
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