Kerry Stokes and Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest (Images: AAP)

As Australia’s political and military leaders express their horror and disgust at alleged war crimes committed by Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers in Afghanistan, Kerry Stokes has vowed to fund the legal fight of those accused.

But it appears he won’t be bankrolling their defence on his own.

A little-known charity originally set up to help the widows and children of SAS veterans is behind his efforts. And the organisation tells its own story about the powerful and well-connected backers of the elite Australian soldiers, many of whom are now accused of war crimes.