Australian Special Forces including the SAS which train at Swan Island have played an important and bloody role in the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. These forces currently make up about 300 of the 1500 serving Australian troops in Afghanistan.
Officially these troops played a “counter insurgency” role in Uruzgan province in Southern Afghanistan. What this means in reality is that these highly trained troops function effectively as “death squads” on behalf of the U.S. military. Although kept secret for years, details have now emerged of the dirty war being waged by the SAS in Afghanistan.
In 2008, the ABC revealed some details of Operation Peeler. The aim of this operation was to “Its aim: to disrupt the Taliban leadership and bombmakers” through conducting raids often at night to “capture or kill” those identified as targets.
The “hunt and kill” activities of the SAS and the Commando Regiment in Operation Peeler are lovingly described in a sensationalist article from the Murdoch Press Courier Mail from 2011 entitled Video footage reveals how Australian special forces troops hunt down and kill enemy targets in Afghanistan. The article which also includes a video of the troops on raids (with a rock music soundtrack), details how
There are kill teams armed with assault rifles fitted with suppressors to absorb muzzle flash and silence the weapons, and sniper teams with elongated rifles that can eliminate targets up to 2.5km away. The footage obtained by The Sunday Mail reveals how frontal raids using grenades and small arms, night missions, sniping and air strikes are all employed to eliminate the enemy. . ….. But the group has inflicted huge losses on enemy forces and captured dozens of prisoners of war flown out to coalition prisons.
Australian Major-General Jim Molan who was chief of operations in Iraq, in effect overseeing all of the Coalition forces there in 2004 bluntly told the ABC when discussing Operation Peeler:
“”I think it would be naively idealistic to think that you can separate war and killing. There are certain groups of people in any conflict, and perhaps Al Qaeda is an example of this, that have to either be killed or captured.”
An article in the Murdoch press article contended that “sorting friend from foe is a critical challenge.”
Operation Peeler only came to light in 2008 when an ADF report was released into the 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. When the Australian Special forces conducted a night raid, presumably to capture or kill “Musket”, the mission went wrong when villagers assumed the Australians were Taliban intruders. The ensuing firefight left Rozi Khan amongst others dead.
Then there was the infamous raid in 2009 which resulted in the deaths of five children killed by a grenade. Efforts to bring charges of manslaughter and other offences against three commandos provoked a massive backlash from the military and were eventually dropped.
Details of another raid on November 23, 2007, emerged as Private Luke Worsley of 4RAR was killed during an assault on a residence in Chenartu village in Uruzgan. The target was Taliban leader Mullah Baz Mohammed, who was expected to be at the house that night. Australian troops crept up under the cover of darkness, blew the outer doors off the housing compound and rushed in. They left the Daad family—three men, two women and one female child—dead on the floor. A neighbour, Faiz Mohammed, told Time magazine: “There was blood everywhere.” Worsley was shot as he entered the house. Mullah Baz Mohammed was not there.
We will never the full extent of the SAS’s dirty war in Afghanistan as its activities remain shrouded in secrecy. Parallels have been made with the current role of these special forces with Operation Phoenix in the Vietnam War which saw the U.S. target thousands of suspected Viet Cong for assignation.
The role of the SAS in these activities is one of the reasons we are coming to Swan Island.
Bring ALL the troops home – including the SAS now!
ABC news: ADF’s Taliban assinations revealed
WSWS: Australian SAS units function as death squads in Afghanistan
Video footage reveals how Australian special forces troops hunt down and kill enemy targets in Afghanistan.