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Jakarta Post

TNI needed in war on terror: Minister

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 4, 2013   /  08:14 am

The Indonesian Military (TNI) should be given a greater role in the war against terror to back up the National Police'€™s Densus 88 counterterrorism squad, a top official says.

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said on Tuesday that the military was needed to help fight terrorism when the police failed to do it alone. '€œThere are times when the police cannot carry out counterterrorism activities alone; when the difficulty is beyond the police'€™s ability,'€ he added.

Purnomo also said he welcomed the military'€™s plan to form a special anti-terrorism squad consisting of personnel from the special forces of the Army (TNI AD), the Navy (TNI AL) and the Air Force (TNI AU).

He added that he had no problem with the plan because difficult anti-terrorism operations, such as the attempt to rescue Indonesian Sinar Kudus ship when it was hijacked by Somalian pirates in 2011, needed to involve such elements.

New TNI Commander Gen. Moeldoko stated during his inauguration that he wanted to form a special force involving all elements of the military to handle terrorism. He said, however, that he had not decided on the form the joint force would take, whether it would be a special unit or a joint task force that functioned as an anti-terror squad only in cases of emergency.

Army Special Forces (Kopassus) Commander Maj. Gen. Agus Sutomo said on Tuesday at the Indonesian Peace and Security Center (IPSC) in Sentul, West Java, that the Army would propose forming a special unit comprising personnel from the three branches of the military to deal with terrorism, with the Army being in command during an
operation.

'€œWe will discuss it with the new military commander in the near future,'€ he announced.

The TNI recently demonstrated its stronger presence in the public. In July, the Army signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Trade Ministry to join the latter'€™s efforts in preventing smuggling along borders and to ensure the smooth distribution of goods across the country.

The TNI will also host the first Counterterrorism Exercise (TCX), which is aimed at exchanging practices of combating terrorism among ASEAN and its eight partner countries in the Pacific comprising the US, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Russia.

The event, which will last from Sept. 9 to 13 at the IPSC, is part of a counterterrorism working group of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus. ADMM Plus oversees five working areas: counterterrorism, maritime security, military medicine, peacekeeping operations and disaster management. (koi)