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Daring raid on a Taleban stronghold
From the Times. Unfortunately 2 brave men of the Special Air Service regiment died in this mission.
THE two special forces soldiers killed during an hour-long gunfight in southern Afghanistan were part of a daring raid on a Taleban stronghold in which four key commanders on the “Most Wanted” list were seized. The details of the “snatch” operation emerged as the next of kin were told of their deaths. The men’s names will not be released after a request from the families.
The SAS, the Royal Marines’ Special Boat Service (SBS) and the newly formed Special Forces Support Group, consisting of troops from the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment, were all involved in the largest covert operation in the area since British troops were deployed there last month.
Defence sources said there had been intelligence that four key Taleban leaders were in a compound in the village of Sangin, north of Helmand province, where 3,300 British troops are based. The special forces were supported by two companies of about 100 paratroops from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. The soldiers from 3 Para launched an attack on the compound, providing covering fire as the snatch squad moved in and grabbed the four. They were described as “high-value targets”.
A full-scale battle ensued, with troops coming under fire for more than a hour. One soldier said: “We stood and fought very hard.” During the battle, two of the seized Taleban escaped and the other two were killed. The sources said that the two dead men were probably hit by crossfire.
It was during the battle that the two special forces soldiers were also killed. One of them was believed to be part of the Special Forces Support Group set up last year to provide extra firepower for SAS and SBS operations. The SAS and SBS are operating together in southern Afghanistan.
The British troops called for airpower to attack the Taleban ambush positions, and the major assault ended only when an RAF Harrier GR7 from Kandahar and an Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopter arrived. Up to thirty Taleban were killed, sources said.