News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)




Add RAWA RSS Feed to Feedreaders



Help RAWA: Order from our wish list on

RAWA Channel on Youtube

Follow RAWA on Twitter

Join RAWA on Facebook

The Sydney Morning Herald, November 2, 2010

Australia’s helping hand to warlord condemned

Matiullah, who has been accused of human rights violations and corruption, has worked closely with Australian and US forces in the province

By Dan Oakes

AUSTRALIA'S decision to train militiamen loyal to an Afghan warlord is senseless and harmful to the long term future of Afghanistan, experts say.

matiullah khan.jpg
Matiullah, who has been accused of human rights violations and corruption, has worked closely with Australian and US forces in the province.(Photo: Adam Ferguson/The New York Times)

The Herald revealed last week that six men loyal to Matiullah Khan, a tribal strongman who dominates parts of Oruzgan province, had trained with Australian troops in this country. Matiullah, who has been accused of human rights violations and corruption, has worked closely with Australian and US forces in the province.

Yesterday, Bruce Haigh, a former Australian diplomat who served in Pakistan and Afghanistan, lambasted the decision to bring the militamen to Australia, on the grounds that the loyalty of Afghan irregular troops could not be guaranteed.Advertisement: Story continues below

''To think that these guys would owe some sort of loyalty to the Australians, to think Khan is in some way a good bloke, shows absolutely no understanding of Afghanistan,'' Mr Haigh said. ''I'm not being xenophobic or racist, it's just years of experience. It's a very tough country. People … live on their wits … Loyalty, of course, is a very complex thing, but it's basically to family, village and tribe.''

Mr Haigh said he was at a loss as to why the Chief of Defence Force, Angus Houston, would approve the training.

''Why does he accept this? … On what basis has he been talked into going down this path?''

An Afghanistan scholar, Amin Saikal, of the Australian National University, was also critical of the training. He said it set a bad precedent and risked entrenching Matiullah Khan as the dominant figure in the southern province, at the expense of the central government the coalition is desperately trying to prop up.

However, the head of the Australian Defence Association, Neil James, said experience showed foreign troops trained in Australia could be influenced by contact with Australian military culture.

Mr James said Indonesian and Filipino troops had been ''culturally re-engineered'' to uphold human rights and democracy in their own countries.

''The national democratisation of Indonesia and the Philippines has been largely led and partly sustained by military officers trained and educated overseas in Australia and other liberal democracies.''

Air Chief Marshal Houston has described the insurgents as well-organised and driven by a variety of grievances and motivations. In an unusually expansive speech at a conference on counter-insurgency at the Australian Defence College yesterday, Air Chief Marshal Houston urged Australian and international attendees to consider what more they could do to win Afghans over to the side of the coalition.

''The need to gain the support of the people … is fundamental to both sides,'' Air Chief Marshal Houston said. ''However, each side has different thoughts and employs different methods to achieve them. I would ask you to think what else we can or should do.''

Category: US-NATO, HR Violations - Views: 9394


12.10.2010: Afghan Warlords, a Larger Stability Threat Than Taliban
08.10.2010: Afghanistan’s Reservoir Dogs: security firms criticised over “warlord payments”
04.10.2010: Afghanistan nine years on
24.09.2010: Warlord TV
23.08.2010: Afghanistan: Land of Injustice and Warlords
23.08.2010: Afghanistan’s new war crimes museum punts on still-powerful warlords
12.08.2010: The real story behind Time’s Afghan woman cover: American complicity
14.06.2010: Danger Looms if Afghan Vice President & Warlord becomes Country’s President
14.05.2010: Victims of Afghan wars demand justice before peace
18.04.2010: “In My Father’s House They Gathered All the Women into One Room”
26.03.2010: The Bloody Hands of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
25.03.2010: Afghan amnesty for militants draws UN condemnation
05.03.2010: ‘Afghan women lawmakers hamstrung by warlords’
27.02.2010: Afghanistan worlords’ unwelcome return
18.02.2010: Two Afghan women are publicly flogged by local warlord in Ghor
11.02.2010: Afghanistan quietly brings into force Taliban amnesty law
27.01.2010: In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method at All
17.01.2010: Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake
17.12.2009: Warlords Re-emerging in North
14.12.2009: Canada ‘defended’ torturer
31.10.2009: NATO forces turn to warlords
10.07.2009: U.S. Said to Have Averted Inquiry Into ’01 Afghan Killings
06.06.2009: The U.S. and the Afghan Tragedy
10.05.2009: Karzai in move to share power with Hekmatyar, warlord wanted by US
04.05.2009: Karzai ignored UN pleas, named notorious warlord as vice president
27.02.2009: Western officials, Taliban engaged in secret talks
01.01.2009: A Day Afghans Will Always Remember
16.12.2008: From the CIA to the ISI to the Lashkar-e-Taiba: Mumbai Terror’s Afghan Roots
12.12.2008: As possible Afghan war-crimes evidence removed, US silent
11.07.2008: Afghan Warlords, Formerly Backed By the CIA, Now Turn Their Guns On U.S. Troops
03.06.2008: Connection of Some Afghan Authorities with Armed Groups
30.05.2008: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s spokesman and son-in-law freed in Kabul
16.04.2008: Afghan parliament committee drafts Taliban-style moral law
11.03.2008: Warlord under siege after 'kidnap and torture' of former ally
19.02.2008: Feared Afghan strongman suspended from government post
08.02.2008: Waiting for justice
06.02.2008: Northern Warlord Flexes His Muscles
03.02.2008: Former Warlord in Standoff With Police at Kabul Home
10.01.2008: America's great game: The 2001 invasion was planned before 9/11
23.11.2007: Ex-commanders warn of dire consequences if ignored
19.11.2007: 1.1 Million Dollar Contact of Canadian Military with a Company of Infamous Warlord
19.11.2007: Afghan boy dancers sexually abused by former warlords
08.11.2007: Warlords no better than Taliban, says Afghan MP
03.11.2007: Afghan criminals and warlords
28.10.2007: Afghan Ex-Militia Leaders Hoard Illegal Arms
26.10.2007: Yunus Qanooni: Friend or Foe of Democracy in Afghanistan?
18.10.2007: Strongman's Reign of Fear in the Northern Afghanistan
13.09.2007: For residents of the northern province of Takhar, there are worse things than the Taliban
29.04.2007: Afghan amnesty shows warlord's clout
16.03.2007: From frying pan to the fire
27.02.2007: 2,000 illegal armed groups active in northern Afghanistan
20.02.2007: The Upper House of Parliament Approve Amnesty For War Criminals
02.02.2007: UN opposes Afghanistan bill giving immunity to war criminals
01.02.2007: Afghan assembly grants immunity for war crimes
08.01.2007: Dostum accused for insecurity in Jawzjan, Faryab
05.05.2006: US not interested in peace in Afghanistan: Kathy Gannon


Most Viewed