Defence clarifies articles in The Australian
4 January 2013
In the final week of December 2012, The Australian published an article “Shooting of Diggers was a planned Taliban attack”. Some claims presented in this article are inaccurate, unsubstantiated or contradict ADF Inquiry findings and other public statements.
The Inquiry Officer who reported on the murder of Lance Corporal Jones on 30 May 2011 at Patrol Base Mashal received and considered a translation of an ANA Short Investigation Report on the incident. The ADF Inquiry Officer clearly stated that there were no witnesses to the shooting. Claims that Shafied Ullah had made protests to Lance Corporal Jones prior to his murder are unsubstantiated.
The ADF Inquiry Officer's report also states that tensions did exist due to “cultural differences”, but found no evidence that Shafied Ullah was offended by the proximity of the urinals. The ANA Commander at the Patrol Base at the relevant time had not raised the urinals as an issue with the Australian commander.
The article suggests that the fatal insider attack at Patrol Base Wahab on 29 August 2012 leading to the murders of Lance Corporal Milosevic, Sapper Martin and Private Poate was a planned attack. The article cites Afghan National Army Investigators as the source of this information. However, the Defence inquiry into this tragic incident has not yet been completed and consequently it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcomes of that inquiry.