Bali: Australian, Indonesian Military Exercise at Bali International Airport

Australian, Indonesian Military Exercise at Bali International Airport

, 28 September 2010


Bali - Soldiers from the Indonesian Military’s controversial Special Forces and the Australian Army’s Special Air Service held joint antiterror operations at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport on Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Lodewijk Friedrich Paulus, head of the Special Forces (Kopassus) said the location was selected because it was the main gateway for foreign tourists entering Indonesia.

The exercises, involving 50 Kopassus soldiers, 20 SAS troops, six helicopters, dozens of trail bikes and number of Army combat vehicles, centered around the 15 ‘terrorists’ who managed to infiltrate the airport and take a number of people, including foreign nationals, hostage.

The exercise ended when soldiers masquerading as caterers.

Paulus said the exercise had been conducted a number of times in both countries.

SAS Commander Maj. Gen. Tim McOwan told the Jakarta Globe that Kopassus was a “professional” outfit.

McOwan was quoted by ABC News as saying that the SAS was training Kopassus because it was the best unit to respond to a threat that could claim Australian lives.

“In my experience Kopassus are working assiduously to redress some of their past transgressions,” he said, referring to past human rights abuses.

Paulus is pressing for urban warfare training in Australia next year, the ABC reported.