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Job for elite troops; THE WAR ON TERRORISM.

ELITE forces from Britain and the US are likely to play a crucial role in the attacks.

Military experts believe specially trained commandos are already on the ground preparing for an undercover operation to prise Osama bin Laden from his hideout.

The SAS, which is expected to spearhead the UK operation, has four squadrons of about 50 highly skilled soldiers, each split into groups trained for different specialist roles.

One squadron is always based in Britain for counter-terrorist emergencies, such as the dramatic storming of the Iranian Embassy in 1981.

Another squadron must always remain on stand-by, which leaves two available for action in Afghanistan.

The SAS rely on their fitness and stealth to get almost everywhere on foot after being dropped some distance from the scene of the action.

During the Gulf War, special troops survived up to seven weeks behind Iraqi lines, often in appalling conditions.

In contrast, US special forces are more often dropped directly into the conflict zone.

The nearest the US has to the SAS is Delta Force. The brainchild of Vietnam veteran Colonel Charlie Beckwith, it was intended as a small, elite force trained for unconventional warfare in an age when traditional battlefield clashes are in decline.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 8, 2001
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