Theodore's World: Hostages Saved By The SBS

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September 26, 2007

Hostages Saved By The SBS

By strength and by guile ... crack SBS troops like ones who carried out rescue

Hostages saved by the SBS
The Sun

Crack Special Boat Service commandos snatched two Italian hostages from the Taliban yesterday in a dramatic helicopter shoot-out.

Elite Navy unit troops in choppers chased an insurgent gang fleeing across the remote Western desert in the Afghan badlands, trading bullets as they flew.

All nine rebels were killed after airborne snipers shot out the engines of their two vehicles.

A second Special Boat Service team dropped on the ground to help out.

The Sun has been given an exclusive account of the daring rescue — dubbed “a classic, textbook counter- terrorism operation”.

Politicians in Rome heaped glowing tributes on the Poole-based special forces for their heroics last night.

The 48-hour-long mission to recover the two soldiers — believed to be military intelligence officers — was launched on Saturday as soon as they were snatched alongside their Afghan interpreter.

It is thought they were betrayed by their local driver, who delivered the three-man team to a Taliban ambush near the town of Shindand, in the Iran border province of Herat.

Coalition spy chiefs used electronic intercepts to trace the captives to a remote compound in next-door Farah province.

The base was swiftly staked out by Italian special forces who parachuted into the area at night to avoid detection.

At dawn yesterday, the SBS team waiting with four Lynx helicopters was scrambled when the hostages were seen being driven out of the compound in two 4x4 jeeps.

The four Lynxs — top speed 210mph — carried a total of 20 commandos and swiftly caught up with the convoy.

They began to “buzz” the jeeps with low passes to force them to stop — but the gunmen refused, and opened up on the Lynxs with AK47s and machine gun fire.

Immediately returning rounds, two SBS snipers — armed with jumbo .5inch calibre rifles — then disabled the two speeding vehicles with pinpoint shots through their engine blocks. The marksmen moved on to take out the fighters individually as they ran to cover from the death-trap vehicles.

At the same time, two choppers landed nearby and dropped off 16 commandos who finished off the remaining members of the gang.

A medivac helicopter hovering high above the Lynx choppers then landed seconds later to evacuate the two Italians and interpreter, who had gone missing two days earlier.

They were all wounded — either in the original firefight when they were snatched or during the shootout.

One Italian soldier was critically ill in hospital last night suffering from a head wound. An Italian diplomat in Kabul said it was not clear who the abductors were.

Taliban insurgents, who have been behind a series of abductions, said they had not kidnapped the Italians.

But the militants are on the run and do not have regular contacts with their comrades.

NATO spokesman in Kabul Major Charles Anthony said the alliance had evidence showing the kidnappers were Taliban.
He added: “This successful operation is evidence of the International Security Assistance Force’s resolve to deal with acts of terrorism in Afghanistan. It was a very well executed rescue mission.”
As word of the extraordinary success spread in Rome last night, Italian senator Alfredo Mantovano added: “I would like to express my sincere thanks to the British troops who made a decisive contribution to the rescue of the two Italians.”
Italian PM Romano Prodi said the rescue represented “a bad defeat for the kidnappers and also a warning for the future. We never had a moment of uncertainty”.
The kidnap of Westerners in Afghanistan is a tactic used more and more by the Taliban. Western Afghan police chief Ali Khan Husseinzada said: “According to our intelligence information Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Hamid had taken the Italians.”

There was uproar a year ago when the Rome government allegedly paid a £1million ransom to free an Italian journalist snatched in Helmand province.

Like Army sister-service the SAS, the SBS practice for months until their hostage rescue drills are perfect.

The daring rescue follows a series of successes by the SBS in Afghanistan. Top of the list of fatal blows against the fanatical fighters was the assassination of the Taliban’s notorious military chief Mullah Dadullah in May after months of painstaking surveillance.

Their heroics have come at a price. In July, L/Cpl Michael Jones, 26, was killed and three comrades wounded in a raid to take out a senior Taliban leader in remote Nimruz province.

While the SAS largely carry out special forces’ operations in Iraq, the SBS — motto, By Strength and Guile — have been given Afghanistan as their exclusive territory.

One of its four sabre squadrons of 80 men is permanently based there, operating across the south. The 7,700 regular British troops there concentrate on opium-swamped Helmand. Last night it emerged the rescue had been carried out by C squadron. Most of the unit’s men were ex-Royal Marines.

In line with normal policy, the MoD refused to discuss the operation to protect the troops’ identities and tactics.

Wild Thing's comment........

Congratulations to the SBS for their mission accompolished and prayers for those that paid a high price in this mission. Thank you to all our troops and to those fighting in this war along with us.

To those in Italy that read this blog, please know how much it means to we Americans to have allies in this fight for what has to be done to make this world a safe place.

....Thank you Tom for sending this to me.

Posted by Wild Thing at September 26, 2007 12:55 AM


... you mean their is a James Bond in the Eurabian Union / Europeon Union? I'll drink some tea and eat a Thomas' English Muffin and reflect on 9 islamomaniacs X 72 virgins = 648 orgies going on in casbah poontang hell right now!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at September 26, 2007 07:11 AM

A veteran -- whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve -- is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to and including his life."
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
-- Author Unknown

Posted by: Mark at September 26, 2007 08:42 AM

"Coalition spy chiefs used electronic intercepts to trace the captives to a remote compound in next-door Farah province".

You know what the above means? The ACLU is going to be getting involved and filing lawsuits on behalf of the terrorists here in the states.

Posted by: BobF at September 26, 2007 08:53 AM

Successful operations like this are carried out on a frequent basis. The Brits special ops are excellent troops as are our US special ops. If the Western news media was really unbiased it would concentrate as much or more on stories like this as it does on fraticide accidents or "prisoner abuse".

This story really shows what the British troops are capable of. The British sailors that were scarfed up by the Iranians are less typical of our allies from Britain. Those sailors and Royal Marines were under shitty rules of engagement and did not know what to do. The SAS or SBS would have opened up and made that a very costly mistake by the Iranians.

Our Special Forces troops are capturing lots of Iranians in Iraq, but this has to be kept quiet. Can't expose Irans people operating against us in Iraq. More politically correct shit.

Posted by: TomR at September 26, 2007 08:55 AM

Three Cheers for those brave men (and women? we may never know).
And God Bless Lance Corp Jones.
I wish I could have heard the radio chatter during that op.

Posted by: gregor at September 26, 2007 12:40 PM

Darth, yep they did a great job. James Bond is alive and well.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 26, 2007 11:13 PM

Mark, that is such a great quote. My Dad had it on his wall on a plaque in his office.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 26, 2007 11:18 PM

Bob, I can't stand the ACLU, they are bullies and have done more damages in this world then any good.
Heck I would love for my phone conversations to be listened to by the President. hahaha It might give him ideas what people are upset about.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 26, 2007 11:20 PM

Tom, yes it is such a great story. I am so proud of them. What a world it would be if the worlds media, not only ours, would share these kinds of stories once they clear for it being ok to be told to the public.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 26, 2007 11:25 PM

Gregor, that's what Nick said too about the radio.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 26, 2007 11:27 PM

... the ACLU (Anti Christian Liberals United /
Atheists Clowns Liars United) is seeking out war crimes in this raid since the Brits used PCCPAD's to pull this off: Pork Chop Crock Pot Air Drops! This disgraced the islamomaniacs....

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at September 27, 2007 12:16 AM