Skip to comments.SAS to assault Bin Laden cave
Posted on 12/01/2001 3:17:58 PM PST by Pokey78
BRITAIN'S SAS is poised to lead an attack on the underground fortress in the White Mountains of eastern Afghanistan where Osama Bin Laden is thought to be preparing for a last stand.
The 60-strong SAS Sabre squadron that captured a cave complex near the southern city of Kandahar last month has been told to prepare for the even tougher mission of hunting down Bin Laden in his Tora Bora stronghold.
A senior British defence source said yesterday that the SAS soldiers had "honed and developed unique skills and experience" during the raid, in which 18 Afghans were killed and four Britons injured. The British troops are planning a joint attack with American special forces on Tora Bora, where Bin Laden is reported to be surrounded by hundreds of followers ready to fight to the death.
"It will be in partnership with the Americans, who have some very good people, but what we learnt in the other cave was crucial," the British source said.
The most seriously injured SAS soldier was hit in the leg and abdomen by enemy fire. A 26-year-old married man, he recovered consciousness last Wednesday and is expected to survive, but may lose a leg.
SAS commanders in Afghanistan and Britain are briefing American Delta Force officers on the lessons of the earlier raid in preparation for an assault on Tora Bora, which is likely to follow an exhaustive intelligence effort.
Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the foreign minister of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, said last night he believed Bin Laden was still hiding in the south of the country, where coalition intelligence agencies thought they had him cornered two weeks ago. However, senior figures on both sides of the Atlantic indicated they were confident Bin Laden had since reached Tora Bora. Planning for an attack intensified as it emerged that Britain is to double the strength of its special forces, partly to cope with an expansion of the war on terrorism in other countries next year.
Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, will say in a speech on Wednesday that a review of UK armed forces following the September 11 terrorist attacks on America had shown the need for an urgent reorganisation.
Although the SAS and the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) will remain virtually unchanged for fear that their expertise would be diluted if they were enlarged, a new tier of special forces will be formed as part of a £100m initiative.
The defence review has concluded that the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines have been overstretched by events. Hoon wants entire regiments retrained to similar standards, creating more "elite infantry" to fulfil difficult roles abroad. They could be asked to assist states such as Yemen, whose government has been unable to prevent terrorists from controlling large areas of the country. Under the plans Britain's 2,000-strong rapid-reaction force, dominated by marines and paratroopers, would be bolstered by about 1,800 more elite infantry.
Candidates for retraining and re-equipping include the Hampshire-based Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and the Royal Green Jackets.
The review will also see an important change in the ethos of the Territorial Army (TA). Since 1996 it has been sent to serve abroad as much as possible. Hoon will say this week that it should make "homeland defence" its priority. The 1997 strategic defence review suggested that the UK did not face the possibility of attacks from the air, a perception transformed by the events of September 11.
The reorganisation to meet new threats will represent a victory for the Ministry of Defence over the Treasury. In recent weeks Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has resisted Hoon's calls for extra money to fund the expansion of special forces. But, after consulting senior military advisers, Tony Blair, the prime minister, has ruled that the expansion should go ahead. He believes the war against international terrorism has demonstrated the need for more flexible fighting forces.
Blair has also written to security and intelligence chiefs, praising them for their work during the conflict. He has told the heads of MI5, MI6, the joint intelligence committee and GCHQ, the communications centre, that "the government and British people are fortunate to be served by security and intelligence organisations whose professionalism is admired by our enemies and feared throughout the world".
Brown, however, is annoyed by a section of the defence review that says MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, as well as military intelligence, will need far more money in next summer's spending round to protect the UK against terror threats.
The review concludes that if the regular army is tied up on home defence, and intelligence services are so overworked preventing attacks here that they cannot focus on the enemy abroad, then the terrorists have already achieved a victory. Instead, it says, the TA should guard the UK while intelligence agencies and elite troops take the fight to the enemy.
The plan may not please many TA soldiers who have seen more action in the past five years than for decades. One senior NCO who returned recently from the Balkans said:
"For some time the TA has been about serving alongside the regular army, and I think that's why a lot of people enjoy it."
More than 80 foreign Taliban fighters emerged alive yesterday from a bunker inside the fort in northern Afghanistan where the bloodiest battle of the war took place last week, writes Matthew Campbell. They included Yemenis, Chechens, Pakistanis, Saudisand one who said he had been born in the United States.
Northern Alliance troops, suspecting that one or two fighters were still in the bunker in the Qala-i-Janghi fort near Mazar-i-Sharif, had flooded it overnight. At 7.30am yesterday 13 Arab fighters were flushed out by the freezing water.
Others remained inside, though it had seemed inconceivable that anybody could have lived through the battle that followed the uprising by prisoners in the fort last Sunday. At 10am, the remainder agreed to surrender, coming out one by one to hand over their weapons and be tied up. Then, in a parade of limping, tattered individuals, the soldiers of Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network were led barefoot down a dirt path towards a red lorry container.
The Red Cross tended to the injured and supplied the starving men with fruit. Northern Alliance soldiers were bewildered and angry. "They will eat your apples and bananas and then blow us all up," said one.
Many Amerricans could learn a lot from this NA soldier.
Creloe bin Laden!
We have seen this before in Chechnya and in the Balkans.
I've the utmost respect and confidence our guys are being led by the very best there is.
Why not locate the ventilation shaft(s) of these rat holes using infra-red.
*Cork* 'em up good, first.
Pump *something* gasseous, creative, & very *flammable* into these cave passages via their entrances.
Simply wait outside, safely, for each & every one of these Taliban *fighters* to come out into the open where they'll be putting themselves into harm's way?
Afterwards, & for those who might've remained -- which theoretically should number a precious few?
Fill 'em with Anthrax & seal 'em up.
...let Allah take care of it from there.
Throw a fake grenade down the blind spots. If ya hear scramblin and panic......toss a real one. Economy of munitions carried in ......... Continue till cave is clear of taliban cockroaches.
Stay Safe ~!
That's why if & when these people are in fact captured?
They must be tried right alongside the people they fought with & against the very nation of their birth.
These people are no longer American Patriots.
...& consequently they must hang with 'em all common enemies of this nation should.
"Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler" Blake Jade and Stay Safe
Who's the "we" that knows all about this vast Transcaspian conspiracy and has been warning the "appropriate authorities" and has been receiving death threats and having their phones wire-tapped, or will you have to kill me if you tell me?
Yeah but that doesn't fit into the donkeycrat profile. Remember, you can't respond to violence with violence. No, I expect these dumb donkey @sses will go down with their man.
Puhleeze! Just the head will suffice.
Boy I love them Brits, I do not give a hoot what others are saying about them, but truth be told when you need them, they are there; we may have some axes to grind with them in peace time but when shit hits the fan, they are right there lending a helping hand.
To all British FRepers(you included Mad Ivan), I tilt my hat to you guys, thank you for sticking with us all the way.
I mean we got bombed(WTC). Is it an ego thing over there?
This question is one I ask myself when the talk arises about what it going on behind the scenes...