The good new just keeps on coming.
By James Cogan
December 11, 20008 “WSWS” — An Australian Defence Department (ADD) report published in October, and highlighted on November 26 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Lateline” program, provides a rare account of the shameful operations being performed by the Australian military as part of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan.
The units most involved are from the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) and the Fourth Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR), the Army’s designated commando battalion. These are highly trained troops and their ostensible role in times of war is to carry out long range reconnaissance, surveillance, harassment or raids on enemy targets. In the so-called “war on terror”, they are being used as little more than death squads.
The ADD report presents the findings of an inquiry into a September 17 Australian operation that resulted in the mistaken killing of Rozi Khan, the pro-occupation governor of Chora district in Uruzgan province and a long-time colleague of Afghan president Hamid Karzai. The intended target, codenamed “Musket” by the Australian military, was an alleged member of the Islamist Taliban movement. While much of the mission statement remains censored, it is apparent that a squad was sent out to storm into the man’s house in the dead of night and execute him in cold blood.
The possibility for things to go wrong is inherent in such operations in civilian areas, and on September 17, they went terribly wrong. Just days before the hit on “Musket” was ordered, the Taliban had issued threats against residents of a village, which lay on the route being taking by the Australians. Rozi Khan had encouraged the villagers to resist any attack and promised to come to their aid with his armed followers.