Afghan army member who shot and killed 3 Aussie diggers to walk free from Afghani prison. Lest We Forget.
On 29 August 2012 Private Robert Poate, Lance Corporal Stjepan “Rick” Milosevic and Sapper James Martin were playing cards inside their fortified forward base north of Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.
They shared the base with members of the Afghan national army.
While they were seated with their attention on the card game, Afghan national army sergeant 'Hekmatullah' shot and killed them in cold blood.
Hekmatullah went on the run, helped by the Taliban.
It took our special forces and intelligence agencies 6 months of intensive effort to find him, by then in the Pakistani city of Quetta.
Hekmatullah confessed to killing our men, was convicted and in 2013 was sentenced to death.
Now, as a result of a 'peace' deal between the US, the Afghan Government and the Taliban, 5,000 prisoners chosen by the Taliban will be released from Afghani prisons. 4,600 prisoners have already walked. Until late last week the fate of the last 400 - the worst of the worst including Hekmatullah - was unclear.
In an act of selfish, base immorality, the Trump administration's secretary of state Mike Pompeo has been pressuring the Afghan government to give in to the Taliban's demands and release all 5,000 - in order to secure a piece of paper 'peace' deal that will allow US forces to withdraw. It appears he's been successful, with an Afghan tribal assembly approving the deal - and the final prisoner releases - yesterday.
On Friday, Army officers and chaplains visited the Poate, Milosevic and Martin families to warn them that the man who killed their sons was about to be set free. Over the weekend, the families released this statement:
“The news passed to us from senior Defence officers on Friday evening has come as a crushing blow. There can never be complete closure for us now.
“Hekmatullah should have been executed — as was his sentence from the highest court of Afghanistan — not released.”
They're spot on. This is an unspeakable disgrace, an act that's beneath contempt - and the Trump administration and Mike Pompeo in particular should be ashamed of themselves.
Hekmatullah says he shot and killed our soldiers because he saw a video of Korans being burned by US forces.
He openly says he'd do the same thing again.
In the next few days he could get his chance.
The Australian's Ben Packham has extensive coverage of this dreadful story at