Anti-Taliban militia receives training in Australia

Matiullah Khan and his militia are paid to protect the convoys travelling the highways in Uruzgan province.

From the AP:  Afghan militia fighters were secretly flown to Australia to train with its special forces in a contentious new strategy against the Taliban insurgency, Australia’s defense chief confirmed Friday.

Six fighters allied to influential warlord Matiullah Khan trained last week at Australian bases to strengthen military operations against the Taliban, said Air Marshall Angus Houston, the head of the Australian Defense Force. The training was first reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Houston told reporters that the militiamen would be "fighting side by side with our special forces when we do the next deployment. …"

The newspaper reported that the Afghan fighters were shown combat training displays at bases in South Australia state and on Sydney’s outskirts. The Defense Department has not disclosed further details.

U.S. and NATO troops often pay local warlords in some areas of Afghanistan to ensure safe passage for their supply convoys.  (photo: Adam Ferguson/New York Times)

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