Michael's Dispatches

Battlefield Forensics


Afghans love to share photos and movies of stuff like this.


Man making cell phone video.


Interesting how the cloth was wrapped around his neck.  Clearly it was wrapped after he was burned.  Maybe it was used to pull him from the mess.


This guy didn’t have great prospects for fingerprints, but his DNA was intact.


Not even much of a photo to enter into the database.


Forensics done, Afghan police hauled the bodies away and we went back to tea at the meeting.


Next day, we visited the station where the policeman and Taliban were killed, and there we picked up some snippets that the burned guy may have been killed after being captured.  But there was some difficulty with translation and “he said she said” type confusion.  4-4Cav Squadron Commander LTC Mike Katona got onto the information and called Colonel Frank about it, and the Colonel launched an investigation within minutes.  (I saw it unfold.)  Next day they sent a team out to investigate further, but it became clear that something was lost in translation, as there normally is.  It seems there was just a straight-up shootout and the burned guy apparently got it when gasoline in his motor-tricycle burst into flames from the RPG shot, which explained why he had rigor mortis in a position that looked like he was driving a motorbike.

And that was it.  Another micro-episode in a very long war.

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