Postcollisional extension superimposed on arc-continent collision complexes is a common feature in the orogenic belts of eastern Indonesia. In the southern Banda arc, the arc-continent collision event is essentially a Pliocene and younger feature, but already an element of extension is being superimposed on the compressional structures of the collision complex. It is thus likely that the extension commences within a very short period (<5 m.y.) after the initiation of collision-related compressional deformation. A similar history of fold-belt development immediately followed by extension can be inferred for the Lengguru fold belt and the adjacent Wandamen-Wondiwoi terranes of Irian Jaya and for the Gulf of Bone in Sulawesi. It is suggested that the extension results from decoupling of the subducting oceanic lithosphere from the unsubductable continental lithosphere and that the superimposition of extension is a virtually unavoidable consequence of the arc-continent collision.