The elephant in the room then hurried off to the airport. It had other important meetings to sit in on in Washington and London. “Motive for digger’s murder ‘may never be known’,” from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, June 21 (thanks to Dumbledoresarmy):
Defence Minister Stephen Smith says the motive for the murder of an Australian soldier by a member of the Afghan National Army may never be known.
After a three week manhunt, Coalition forces shot dead Shafied Ullah, who was responsible for killing Australian Lance Corporal Andrew Jones at Combat Outpost Mashal in the Chora Valley.
Mr Smith says there was limited Australian involvement in the operation that led to Ullah’s death, near his home village in the Khowst province of eastern Afghanistan.
Mr Smith has told ABC1’s Lateline he does not believe Ullah was a member of the Taliban.
“My instinct has always been a rogue ANA soldier rather than a Taliban plant, but as I’ve said before instinct is not a good basis, conclusive evidence is, and we still have that investigation ongoing,” he said.
Mr Smith says Ullah had been a member of the ANA for up to four months and had been undergoing training with Coalition forces for about one month.
“Suffice to say that we don’t have anything which would indicate infiltration by the Taliban,” he said.
“We had all of the usual checking and vetting, the biometrics and the like, which is why he’s been able to be identified in the course of yesterday and today.”
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the death of Lance Corporal Jones, but Mr Smith says there is no evidence to support this.
“I put that very much in the category of: they would do that, wouldn’t they? For propaganda purposes,” he said.
“So, it may well be the rogue actions of an individual disgruntled soldier, but we continue to, in a sense, pursue the inquiry that the chief of the Defence Force formally started at the end of May on his tragic death.”
Ullah’s brother was captured in the operation and Mr Smith says he is being questioned.
But he says the Defence Force would have preferred to capture Ullah alive.
“Whilst this will bring some solace or some closure to the family that the person responsible for the death of Lance Corporal Jones has met his own demise, it does substantially make more difficult bringing to a conclusion the investigation that has been commenced. So, we may well never know,” he said….