Training deficiencies could have led to rogue insider attack

A LAWYER says deficiencies in the army's training for potential insider attacks could have contributed to the deaths of three Australian soldiers, who were gunned down by a rogue Afghanistan troop while on a mentoring mission three years ago.

The inquest into the deaths of Queensland man Lance-Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, Private Robert Poate and Sapper James Martin wrapped up with closing submissions in Brisbane yesterday.

The Coroner is expected to hand down his findings in a few months.

The three men were killed in August 2012 when an Afghan solider opened fire on a group of Australians while they were in the same base in the Oruzgan province.

Counsel assisting the Deputy Coroner Peter de Waard said the primary cause of the soldiers' deaths was the "murderer" Afghan solider.

But he said there were six main deficiencies in the defence force which contributed.

Mr de Waard said these included inadequate training and planning that did not address a potential "insider threat" and how the soldiers were not familiar with the base before they met the Afghan troops.

It was also revealed at the inquest that most of the Australian troops were wearing shorts and t-shirts at the time of the attack; not their combat gear.

Mr de Waard said most should have remained in their uniforms, with their weapons and body armour close at hand, and taking turns to cool down.

But Commonwealth barrister James Renwick dismissed this claim, saying this was "misplaced".

Mr Renwick said the troops had been in extreme 50-degree heat that day and were dehydrated and exhausted. He said they needed to take off the equipment and rest.

But Mr Renwick said it was extremely hard to predict an insider threat.


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