An Australian Special Air Service (SAS) soldier is under investigation over the 2012 shooting of a man who was reportedly unarmed and intellectual disabled.
An ABC report revealed the man – dubbed “Soldier C” – was stood down and is now under investigation by Australian authorities.
Two SAS patrol members, who were witnesses to the killing, told the public broadcaster the disabled man was shot in the back of the head as he tried to “limp” away.
The shooting as become known as the “village idiot killing” among special forces
“Choppers have landed, this guy’s ran. Fair enough. We were pretty intimidating,” said one member.
“He was obviously intellectually disabled. (Soldier C) shot this f***er through the back of the head. And I remember it so clearly because his brain literally hit the ground before he did. It was just so unnecessary.”
“His head exploded,” said the second witness. “There was no need for what happened. No need whatsoever. In my book that was war crimes – murder.”
Soldier C is now being investigated by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF).
The same soldier shot and killed an unarmed Afghan man in a field in May 2012, in footage aired on Four Corners earlier this year, the ABC reported.
A former Special Air Service (SAS) soldier told the program he saw three incidents of alleged murder. Afghan villagers provided details as well, saying an SAS squadron raided the village of Sola in Uruzgan province on August 31, 2012, days after a rogue Afghan soldier killed three Australian troops.
Villagers were allegedly blindfolded and tied up, and a local imam and his son were shot dead.
The dramatic footage showed a SAS patrol being dropped from a Black Hawk helicopter in May 2012 and fanning out near the village of Deh Jawz-e Hasanzai.
Operating out of the Australian base in Tarin Kowt, around 400km southwest of the Afghani capital Kabul, the soldiers were looking for an insurgent bomb maker.
Within three minutes of arriving at the village, one of the soldiers has the Afghani man aged in his 20s subdued by an army dog in a wheat field and then shoots him.
A former SAS soldier deployed to Afghanistan in the same year described the killing captured on the video as a “straight-up execution”.
The video, taken by the helmet camera of the handler of the dog named Quake, begins with the patrol disembarking from one of two Black Hawks.
The helicopters are guiding the ground patrol to a person who has been spotted in the wheat field ahead.
The patrol scout moves swiftly through a field towards a compound.
Quake’s handler shouts commands at the dog as he and Soldier C zero in on the bearded man who is holding a set of red prayer beads.
As Soldier C points his assault rifle at very close range to the Afghani man on the ground, the handler shouts “Quake, leave!”
ABC-TV reported the man was cowering and had rolled onto his back with his legs drawn up to his chest.
In the video, the man is then perfectly still as Soldier C points his weapon between one and two metres from the man’s head.
The man rolls onto his back, his legs drawn up. In his right hand is what appears to be a set of red prayer beads.
He is still, as the soldier keeps the weapon pointed at his head.
Soldier C then asks Quake’s handler, “You want me to drop this c**t?”
“I don’t know mate,” the dog handler replies, telling the soldier to “hit … up” the patrol commander.
Soldier C then turns to the commander and asks., “You want me to drop this c**t?”
He then repeats the question, but on the video the commander’s response is inaudible.
Soldier C then fires a shot into the Afghani and Quake bounds towards the man.
The dog’s handler then commands Quake to again leave, and Soldier C can be heard firing two more rounds.
Four Corners reported the slain man was a married father-of-two, Dad Mohammed, and that after Afghani tribal elders lodged a complaint, the Australian Defence Force formally investigated the killing.