CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses war crimes in graphic detail.

A joint investigation by 60 Minutes and The Age has literally dug up photos of Australian soldiers allegedly committing heinous war crimes in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of photos on several USB sticks were buried in a child’s lunchbox by Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith, Australia’s most decorated former SAS soldier who is now also being investigated for war crimes. The photos were covertly obtained by police in 2020, but have only now been made public by 60 Minutes and The Age.

What’s contained on those USB sticks are some truly horrific moments from the war in Afghanistan.

One photo shows an Afghani man who had been killed, his face freshly splattered with blood. An Australian soldier appears to have desecrated his corpse by placing two military souvenir coins over his eyes as some kind of sick war trophy.

“The way I understand the Geneva Conventions, mucking around with the corpses of dead people on the battlefield is a war crime,” former NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy told the program.

“That’s trophy hunting.”

Ben Roberts-Smith is Australia’s most highly-decorated Afghan war veteran. He’s also under investigation for war crimes and buried a cache of damning photos in his backyard. (Getty Images / Paul Kane)

Other photos are from a party held at the coalition military base near Tarinkot. They show Australian soldiers drunk off their faces; vomiting and pissing indoors, as well as pretending to perform oral sex in the open.

One of the soldiers had even dressed up in Ku Klux Klan robes and carried a noose around.

“It’s entirely inappropriate behaviour,” Whealy added.

“It’s a failure of leadership. It’s a failure on behalf of the people involved and the witnesses that were there as well.”

Among the hundreds of other photos are several which again show Australian soldiers drinking beer from the infamous prosthetic leg taken from an Afghani who was killed.

The investigation also claimed that Roberts-Smith, who buried this damning evidence in the first place, sent threatening letters and emails to journalists and others who helped expose what really went on in Afghanistan.

He is now suing Nine Entertainment (which owns Channel 9 and The Age, as well as PEDESTRIAN.TV) for a previous report about him allegedly kicking an Afghan civilian off a cliff. Nine argues the allegations are substantially true.

To find out more about the story and see the graphic photos for yourself, you can read the full article in The Age here and watch the full 60 Minutes episode here.

Image: Getty Images / Ian Hitchcock