Friday, May 8, 2009

Australian forces and targeted assassinations

We have seen before on this blog that Australian forces were involved in a targeted assassination of an insurgent leader last fall. Now there is evidence of a repeat performance:

SAS 'assassinate' Taliban leader Mullah Noorullah
Mark Dodd - The Australian

May 7 - Australian special forces have taken part in a targeted assassination of a senior Taliban leader, an operation army commanders claim will disrupt the insurgents' campaign in southern Oruzgan.

Mullah Noorullah was killed ... in Deh Rafshan district in southern Oruzgan, where the Australian Special Operations Task Group is based.

The SOTG tag is commonly used by defence as a synonym to describe elite Special Air Service operatives authorised to hunt and kill Taliban leaders in an Afghan variation on the Vietnam-era Phoenix Program...

Last month, the SOTG claimed credit for killing Mullah Abdul Bari, a former Taliban governor of Helmand province... (link)
The reference to the Phoenix Program is downright sickening. Here is how the program's foremost historian, Douglas Valentine, describes the acts carried out under its authority:
By 1969 the CIA, through Phoenix, was targeting individual VCI [Viet Cong Infrastructure, i.e. peasant supporters] and their families all across Vietnam. Over 20,000 people were assassinated by the end of the year and hundreds of thousands had been tortured in Province Interrogation Centers... (link)

7 comments: said...

Welcome back - hope you're doing better.

Re: the recent killing of a Taliban leader in Uruzgan, how is this different from the Taliban's decree here:

"....The Islamic Emirate once again warns private construction companies, transport companies, contractors, owners of vehicles and drivers, who build military centers for the infidel invaders and their internal slaves and transport military equipment, fuel and other logistical goods, that they should completely stop and end such dealings with the invading Americans and their puppet administration .... However, if despite repeated warnings, the owners and workers of construction and transport companies continue such unpatriotic and un-Islamic deeds, the Mujahideen will take action against such inadmissible deeds, and if something happens to them as a result of these actions, then responsibility will lie with them ...."

Dave Markland said...

milnews: I am afraid I don't understand the question. said...

I should have been clearer - there's more than one group focusing deadly force on specific, identifiable members of those they consider the enemy. Like NPR said today:

"The number of assassinations in Afghanistan is growing, particularly in Kandahar province, where Taliban militants are strong and well-organized. Dozens of politicians, government employees, activists and Muslim clerics have been targeted in an attempt to silence critics and disrupt the government...."

Dave Markland said...
Indeed, as you outline, we (NATO, etc) use some of the very same tactics as do some of the most revolting characters imaginable. Sadly, this isn't exactly news to anyone who follows this blog.
Dave M said...

In spite of what we agree to disagree on, something we can agree on: the Taliban are part of the league of "some of the most revolting characters imaginable".

BTW, it appears the Aussies have done it again.

Take care.

Dave Markland said...

milnews: You are mistaken. The original blog post noted that Australians had, for at least the second time, carried out a 'targeted assassination'. This is illegal under the Geneva Conventions. What you link to was the killing of an insurgent in battle. There is a big difference.
Thank you for your comments.
Dave M

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