Six fighters from the private army of Afghan warlord, drug trafficker and highway robber Matiullah Khan were recently in Australia for training with the Australian Defence Forces, the October 29 Sydney Morning Herald said.
Khan’s power base is in Oruzgan province, where most Australian forces in Afghanistan are stationed.
Such is Khan’s reputation for criminality and violence that Dutch forces, who before their withdrawal in August were the largest foreign contingent in Oruzgan, refused to work with him.
His fighters were training in Australia at the same time as the debate on the merits of the Afghanistan war in federal parliament.
These revelations confirmed the picture painted of Australia’s role in Afghanistan by Stop the War Coalition activist Helen Patterson and Afghan refugee and activist Hadi Zaher at a Socialist Alliance forum on October 28.
"The occupiers of Afghanistan have created a system that is one of the most corrupt on this planet", Zaher said.
He said that far from bringing democracy to Afghanistan, the US-NATO-led war and occupation had helped entrench corruption and fundamentalism in his country.
Zaher’s speech painted an ugly picture of President Hamid Karzai, his allied Northern Alliance warlords and their rivals, the Taliban, disputing that any of them represented anyone's interests but their own.
“There is a third force in Afghanistan: the democracy movement, which includes the student movement, the Solidarity Party and Malalai Joya, but they are not given much of a profile.”
[Sydney Stop the War Coalition is organising a "Shoe away the war criminals" protest at the US consulate in Martin Place on November 8 when Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates will be visiting Australia. Malalai Joya is speaking in Sydney at the University of Technology on November 16. See www.stopwarcoalition.org .]