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Governor denies troops had go-ahead for raid

Date

Ben Doherty

Hamis Karzai's administration denies claims that permission was given for an SAS raid.

Hamis Karzai's administration denies claims that permission was given for an SAS raid. Photo: Reuters

THE administration of Hamid Karzai has continued to contradict claims by NATO commanders and the Australian government that an SAS raid last Friday night was undertaken with the permission and co-operation of local authorities.

Yesterday the recently established Governor of Uruzgan, Haji Amir Mohammad Akhundzada, said the Australians had not told him of the raid, which saw an old man and his son who may be linked to the Taliban shot dead, nor had they informed the provincial police chief.

All raids by soldiers working under the ISAF banner must be authorised by local authorities under a memorandum of understanding signed this year.

A spokesman for Mr Akhundzada told the Herald the Governor's office did not co-operate with the raid, nor played any part in its planning.

"There is an agreement between the Governor and the Australian [forces] that any operations are co-ordinated together. They need to tell the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police so that those officers can be in attendance,'' the spokesman said through a translator. ''They did not do that, they did not discuss this operation with anybody.''

Following the raid, the Governor met elders in the area and promised his own investigation.

The raid that led to the two men being killed was on Friday, about two days after three Australian soldiers were killed by a rogue Afghan soldier, Sergeant Hekmatullah.

Authorities in Afghanistan yesterday began distributing wanted posters of Hekmatullah around Oruzgan, with a US $5000 bounty on his head. The tactic of offering a reward for fugitives is common in the country.

The bodies of the dead Diggers are due to arrive in Australia today.

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