A photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban fighter emerged on Tuesday, as the Chinese and Australian governments continued to trade blows over alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan.
The photograph of the soldier drinking from an apparent “war trophy” in an unauthorised bar in Afghanistan in 2009 was one of several obtained by Guardian Australia.
Another shows two soldiers dancing with the leg. The bar, known as the Fat Lady’s Arms, was set up inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province.
Some soldiers claimed in the Guardian that the practice was widely tolerated by officers at high levels, and even involved some of them.
Taking property without the consent of the owner may be classified as pillaging, a war crime which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The revelations came as China hit back at the Australian government, which had criticised a social media post by senior official Zhao Lijian featuring a doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child.
The post was a reference to the findings of the Brereton inquiry which implicated Australian forces in the alleged murder of prisoners or civilians in Afghanistan.