Tags: British | Anti-terrorist | Groups | Reportedly | Afghanistan

British Anti-terrorist Groups Reportedly in Afghanistan

Sunday, 23 September 2001 12:00 AM

"We never comment on matters related to the Special Forces," a Ministry of Defense spokeswoman told United Press International when asked about the reports.

Defense sources told UPI that they would not be surprised if agents from the innocuously named Special Air Services and other British or Western intelligence services were already in Afghanistan.

"You can be sure some agents have always been there and in Peshawar (in neighboring Pakistan) and more moved in soon after the terrorist attacks" on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a defense source said. "However it would be irresponsible to say with certainty that, yes, they are there."

Taliban soldiers fired on an SAS unit in the foothills of Kabul late on Friday but the Britons escaped unhurt, The Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday tabloid said.

Both papers said the SAS had been in the country for five days and had already linked up with anti-Taliban rebels of the Northern Alliance.

The Sunday Times said the gunfire had been "more symbolic than directed" because the SAS team "spooked" the Taliban, who fired indiscriminately before fleeing.

"The incident marks an escalation in what has so far been only an intelligence war," the Sunday Times said. "The Taliban are in a high state of alert for coalition forces waiting to enter their country."

The Times said SAS operatives were working with members of Britain's counter-intelligence agency MI6, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Afghan Northern Alliance, which opposes the Taliban.

They are seeking intelligence on the whereabouts of Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden, who is the United States' No. 1 suspect as the mastermind behind the terror attacks of Sept. 11 that have claimed nearly 6,000 lives.

Intelligence is also sought on the location of mines, routes bin Laden might take out of the country and the help of local guides for later operations.

Defense sources told UPI that speculation about secret operations in Afghanistan could strengthen the Taliban, giving them an excuse to crack down on the local population.

Meanwhile, a Royal Navy fleet of 13 ships, including the nuclear submarine HMS Superb, passed through the Suez Canal en route to the Gulf, Defense Ministry sources said.

The vessels are taking part in a series of maneuvers in Oman codenamed Saif Sareea II (Swift Sword), which was scheduled before the terror attacks.

About 20,000 British soldiers are expected to take part in the exercises.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

All rights reserved.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
We never comment on matters related to the Special Forces, a Ministry of Defense spokeswoman told United Press International when asked about the reports. Defense sources told UPI that they would not be surprised if agents from the innocuously named Special Air Services...
British,Anti-terrorist,Groups,Reportedly,Afghanistan
412
2001-00-23
Sunday, 23 September 2001 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved