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Komando Pasukan Khusus
Kopassus logo.png
Shoulder insignia and patch worn by the Kopassus.
Active April 16, 1952 – Present
Country Indonesia
Branch Indonesian Army
Type Special Forces
Role Group 1 & 2 -Special Operation forces, Unconventional Warfare, Counter-Insurgency,Special Reconnaissance, Direct Action
Group 3 - Combat Intelligence
Group 4 - Training
Group 5, Also known as SAT-81 Gultor - Counter Terrorism
Size Five regiments
Part of Indonesian National Armed Forces Tentara National Indonesia (Indonesian)
Garrison/HQ Batu Jajar , West Java
Nickname Kopassus
Motto Berani, Benar, Berhasil
Colors Red beret
Engagements Local rebellions 1950s
Western New Guinea 1961–1962
Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation 1963–1966
Coup attempt and massacres 1965
East Timor military campaign (Seroja Operation) 1975
The Hijacking of Garuda Flight GA 206 (Woyla Operation) 1981
See the operations for details
See the List of Kopassus Commanders

Kopassus,( a portmanteau of "Komando Pasukan Khusus": or "Special Force Command") is an Indonesian Army special forces group that conducts special operations missions for the Indonesian government, such as direct action: unconventional warfare, sabotage, counter-insurgency: counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering. Kopassus was founded on April 16, 1952.

The Special Forces quickly made their mark by spearheading some of the government's military campaigns: putting down regional rebellions in the late 1950s, the Western New Guinea campaign in 1960, the confrontation with Malaysia from 1962–1966, the massacres of alleged communists in 1965, the East Timor invasion in 1975, and the subsequent campaigns against separatists throughout Indonesia.

Kopassus is alleged by external media and human rights-affiliated NGOs to have committed violations of human rights in East Timor, Aceh, Papua and the capital Jakarta. Notably in the Western press, published articles even in mainstream media may include epithets such as "the notorious Kopassus" .[1]


History: Dutch colonial antecedents

On April 15, 1952, Colonel Alexander Evert Kawilarang laid the foundation for Kesatuan Komando Tentara Territorium III/Siliwangi (Kesko TT), the early name of Kopassus.

The impetus for building this special force was provided from an experience of frustration when fighting against the troops of the RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan or Republic of the South Moluccas) forces, who were supported by two companies of Dutch Korps Speciale Troepen (KST). The Indonesians were amazed and hampered by KST's sniper ability and skills- which the Indonesian armed forces at the time did not possess. They were then inspired to build a similar force for Indonesia. However, at that time, there were no Indonesian commanders with necessary experience nor skills in special operations. However, Lieutenant Colonel Slamet Riyadi would not see his dream realized due to his death in a battle against the troops of the separatist RMS.

Not long after, Colonel Kawilarang with the use of military intelligence located and met with Major Rokus Bernardus Visser - a former member of the Dutch Special Forces who had remained a peaceful and law-abiding citizen in newly independent Indonesia, settled in West Java, married an Indonesian woman, and was known locally as Mohamad Idjon Djanbi. He was the first recruit for the Indonesian special forces, as well as its first commander. Due to him, the unit later to become Kopassus adopted the distinctive Red Beret similar to that of the Dutch Special Forces.

At that time, Indonesia's special force name was Third Territorial Command: Komando Teritorium Tiga (KTT). Kopassus was the final result of five name changes: KTT, KKAD, RPKAD, and Kopasandha. The first generation of Indonesian Forces was only around a hundred soldiers or one company, headquartered in Bandung.

List of Kopassus Commanders

Kopassus is currently led by Commandant General or DanJen, who holds the rank of Major General. Below is a list of commanders who have led the special forces.

List of Commandant of the Special Command Force General
Name Year Remark
Major Moch. Idjon Djanbi (Rokus Bernadus Visser) 1952-195? led from Kesatuan Komando Tentara Territorium III/Siliwangi (Kesko TT) till RPKAD
Major RE Djailani 195?-19?? -
Major Kaharuddin Nasution 19??-19?? -
Major Mung Parahadimulyo 1958-1964 -
Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo 1964-1967 RPKAD to Puspassus TNI-AD
Brigadier General Widjoyo Suyono 1967-19?? -
Brigadier General Witarmin ?-? 1971 Puspassus TNI-AD to Kopassandha
Brigadier General]Yogie SM May 1975-April 1983 -
Brigadier General Wismoyo Arismunandar April 1983-May 1985 -
Brigadier General Sintong Panjaitan May 1985-August 1987 Kopassandha to Kopassus
Brigadier General Kuntara August 1988-July 1992 -
Brigadier General Tarub July 1992-July 1993 -
Brigadier General Agum Gumelar July 1994-September 1995 -
Brigadier General Subagyo HS September 1995-December 1995 -
Major General Prabowo Subianto December 1995-March 1998 August 1996 Brigadier General to Major General
Major General Muchdi PR March 1998-May 1998 -
Major General Syahrir MS 1998-2000 -
Major General Amirul Isnaini 1 June 2000-2002 -
Major General Sriyanto 2002-15 February 2005 -
Major General Syaiful Rizal 15 February 2005-2006 -
Major General Rasyid Qurnuen Aquary August 2006-September 2007 -
Major General Soenarko 4 September 2007-1 July 2008 -
Brigadier General Pramono Edhie Wibowo 1 July 2008-now

Human rights issues

Kopassus has been accused by numerous NGO's and Western politicians of human rights violations. Amnesty International and KOMNASHAM (Indonesian human rights groups) have cited alleged abuses by purported members of Kopassus.

Four members of Kopassus were convicted of the strangulation killing of Theys Eluay, the former chairman of the Papuan Presidium Council. After admitting the killing after ambushing him and his driver, two received prison sentences of 31/2 years and two others received three years.[2]

As TNI members, the Kopassus are/were legally exempt from civil law jurisdiction trial and a military inquiry found them innocent of all charges. The principal members of the alleged "murder" were all of Group V (Jakarta) and not based in Jayapura nor West Papua, and the "supposed ring-leader Let-Col Hatono got three and a half years jail and two other officers were not even discharged. The ruling Jakarta perspective on the "murder" was affirmed by army Chief Ryamizard Ryacudu: "accepted the men had to face sentence because Indonesia is a State based on law. However he said the men are heroes to [sic: if they did] kill a rebel leader. Defense lawyers who [sic: are] appealing the verdicts, have also described the alleged "killers" as heroes"[3]

Famous members


Equipment used by Kopassus includes:


General references

  • Ken Conboy (2003) KOPASSUS Inside Indonesia's Special Forces, Equinox Publishing, ISBN 979-95898-8-6


  1. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, November 15, 2002 [1]; Transcript from an Australian Broadcasting Corporation brodacast, 12/08/2003 [2]
  2. ^ The Age
  3. ^ Damien Kingsbury Power Politics and the Indonesian military, Routledge: 2003, ISBN 041529729X, 280 pages Google books reference: [3]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Kopassus & Kopaska - Specijalne Postrojbe Republike Indonezije" (in Indonesian). Hrvatski Vojnik Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Komando Pasukan Khusus (Kopassus)". ShadowSpear Special Operations News. January 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 

External links

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