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Defense chief confirms Afghan militia

Afghan militia fighters were secretly flown to Australia to train with its special forces, Australia's defense chief confirmed on Friday.

world Updated: Oct 29, 2010 11:41 IST

Afghan militia fighters were secretly flown to Australia to train with its special forces, Australia's defense chief confirmed on Friday.

Six fighters allied to 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 Australian officers are to be deployed to Afghanistan, where Australia has 1,550 troops based in the southern province of Uruzgan.

"If we want to get our act together so that we have an absolutely seamless operation, it is absolutely imperative that we train with the people we are going to be fighting side by side with," he added.

The newspaper reported that the Afghan fighters were shown combat training displays at bases in South Australia state and on Sydney's outskirts. Further details haven't been disclosed.