Murdered soldiers were not trained as mentors

A CORONER has heard Australian troops on a mentoring mission to Afghanistan were not trained in what mentoring was, nor how to do it while still protecting themselves.

The inquest into how a rogue Afghan soldier murdered Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, Sapper James Martin and Private Robert Poate heard Australian soldiers were extensively trained before deployment but there was no specific training on mentoring.

The battalion's sergeant, Adam Burke, said they could not establish separation between Australian and Afghan forces because of a slope in the Afghan base they were sent to.

The slope was not visible on an aerial photo they had been given and had not been mentioned before deployment.

Until presented with evidence in court, Sgt Burke said he was unaware any Australian forces had been at the base before then.

He said they would likely have requested more troops to better reinforce the site if they had known about the slope.

However, Sgt Burke said he and his battalion were well-prepared for the deployment and the "atmospherics" between the Australian and Afghan soldiers were good until the shooting.

He said he allowed the group to remove their armour inside the base in order to gain some respite from the 55-degree heat. He insisted all troops remained armed even if they were not in full gear.

The inquest is expected to run until Tuesday.


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