Special Operations: Timor-Leste

Special Operations: Timor-Leste


Members of the Australian and New Zealand Special Air Service Regiments (SASR) were the first to arrive in Timor in 1999, securing the airport in Dili for the main INTERFET force to arrive. 3 Squadron SASR led many INTERFET operations during the early days of the intervention, serving as the eyes and ears of the force.

There have been regular deployments of SASR Squadrons in recent years, with SAS troops playing in major role in 2006 crisis, and the failed hunt for Timorese rebel Major Alfredo Reinado.

Commentary and analysis

Submission to the Senate Hearing Committee of Australia’s Involvement in Peacekeeper Operations, Australian Peacekeeper & Peacemaker Veterans’ Association, 20 March 2007 p.5.

“Culminating in the deployment to OPERATION ASTUTE is the latest insertion of a Sabre Squadron of the Special Air Services Regiment (SASR)…”

Battalion History, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Association website

“6 RAR directly supported the Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) Operation FARSCAPE to apprehend Major Alfredo Reinado at Same in February 2006. The Battalion… returned to Australia over March-April 2007 after extensive security and stability operations in Dili and throughout the TLAO.”

Australian SAS troops join hunt for East Timor rebels, Lindsay Murdoch, Dili, The Age, 14 February 2008

“Australian’s elite SAS troops have begun hunting the rebels who attacked East Timor’s two top political leaders in the mountains above Dili….Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who approved sending the SAS back into East Timor’s mountains to hunt the rebels, is scheduled to arrive in Dili tomorrow for a whirlwind visit. The SAS led a botched attack on the base of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado in the central mountain town of Same in March last year.”

The Amazing SAS – the inside story of Australia’s special forces (review of book by Ian McPhedran), Australian Defence Association.

“The chapters on East Timor provide good insights into early SAS operational activities, including delicate liaison with the guerrilla arm of the FRETILIN guerrilla movement, Falintil.”