Subject: SMH: Kopassus Linked To Terrorist Groups, Aussie Official Admits

Sydney Morning Herald November 23, 2002

Kopassus linked to terrorist groups, official admits

Kopassus, the Indonesian special forces unit, which the Government wants to re-engage in the hunt for terrorists, has links to terrorist groups and activities itself, a senior official admitted yesterday.

Appearing before a Senate estimates hearing, the Foreign Affairs first assistant secretary for South and South-East Asia, Jennifer Rawson, said there was evidence that members of Kopassus had links with radical Islamic groups such as Laskar Jihad.

While she said there were no "formal" links between the organisations, the remarks put pressure on the Government to abandon its push to reintroduce relations between Kopassus and the Australian military and law enforcement agencies.

Australia cut ties with Kopassus after it was linked with scores of human rights abuses. It has been judged responsible for much of the militia violence in East Timor following its independence vote.

But the Defence Minister, Robert Hill, believes the war on terrorism makes it imperative that serious consideration is given to re-establishing links with Kopassus, to assist their key role in the detection of terrorists.

Tom Allard

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