The SAS are preparing to join Donald Trump’s troop surge in Afghanistan
Last week Donald Trump vowed to win the war in Afghanistan by committing more US troops and ha said he wanted the UK to follow suit
British Prime Minister Theresa May has obliged. She is about to green light the deployment of significant numbers of special forces to take part in covert operations targeting Taliban, ISIS and Al-Qaeda according to a report in the Sunday Times.
Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) operatives are expected to play a vital role in a “scoping exercise” allowing military leaders to figure out what kind of troops are more suitable for a new Afghan deployment.
A “significant uptick” in SAS operations in Afghanistan will come after a British Army intelligence unit’s agents reported that the Taliban had managed to infiltrate every province or main town of Afghanistan, the newspaper said.
Consequently, British military chiefs came out with “compelling information from credible human intelligence sources” showing that the Afghanistan would be lost to the Taliban if the US pulled out troops from the country.
According to the Sunday Times report, this intelligence played a pivotal role in persuading US President Donald Trump to deploy a rumored 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan. “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists,” the President said when announcing the move last week.
“A hasty withdrawal,” Trump said, would create a “vacuum” for terrorists. He argued that “9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists.”
There are currently 500 British personnel in the country. The 16-year war in Afghanistan has already cost UK taxpayers more than £40 billion (US$50 billion). Over the span of 14 years, 456 troops lost their lives in the conflict – a death rate higher than that of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Falklands War.
At this stage, British troops only train Afghan forces and do not take direct part in hostilities. All the same, a surge in SAS operations could eventually raise human rights concerns. In July, it emerged that members of an SAS “rogue unit” executed unarmed civilians during night raids in Afghanistan and trimmed after-action reports to shift blame onto their Afghan partners.