| August 26, 2009
Article from: Australian Associated Press
AUSTRALIAN special forces troops aren't in the business of assassination and have not assassinated Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, said Defence head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.
Air Chief Marshal Houston said he rejected media suggestions that members of the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) in Afghanistan had assassinated Taliban leaders.
The Australian Defence Force has issued a series of statements revealing that the SOTG had been responsible for the deaths of some two dozen Taliban leaders and bomb makers over the last year.
The latest occurred yesterday when it was disclosed that Mullah Abdul Karim, an insurgent commander known to be directly responsible for numerous attacks against Australian and Afghan forces, had been killed in an operation on August 10.
Air Chief Marshal Houston said Australian forces made every effort to capture insurgents.
"We don't indulge in assassination," he told reporters in Canberra.
"What we do is we go out and we disrupt the Taliban.
"When we come across those people, we endeavour to capture them. Sometimes they resist very strongly, in which case they usually end up second best. It is not assassination."
Defence Minister John Faulkner backed the work of Australian special forces saying the role was absolutely critical.
He said Australia provided the largest number of special force in Afghanistan, after the US.
Senator Faulkner said the minimal disruption to the recent Afghan election was to the great credit of Australian special forces and other Australian troops.
"They are doing an absolutely magnificent job. The work they are doing is critically important to security in Oruzgan province and I know it is greatly valued by the US and our partners in regional command south," he said.