The British Special Air Service (SAS) is a special unit of the British Army, founded in 1941. The SAS undertake many roles that cover covert reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, direct action and hostage rescue.
The SAS’s most famous rescue was the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980, where six armed men raided the Iranian embassy in South Kensington, London. The SAS raid lasted seventeen minutes. The SAS shot dead five of the gunmen and captured one alive. It was a successful rescue that many say showed the best of British special forces and their hostage-rescue capabilities.
Most recently, a small number of SAS soldiers were in Afghanistan fighting head-on with Taliban insurgents.
The SAS were called into an area in Afghanistan where Afghani forces had set up a manned fort. The Afghan’s requested support after being confronted with heavy fire from the Taliban insurgents.
The SAS were drafted into the area to assist the Afghani forces in repelling the attack from the Taliban. US unmanned drones had fired rockets on enemy locations which had drawn many Taliban over into Afghan forces areas after fleeing away.
The SAS were drafted into the area to “hunt down” the rebels and secure the location. It is reported that one SAS soldier was involved in a “quick-draw” shoot-out with a Taliban rebel. The SAS soldier quickly fired his gun and killed the enemy, but as he was doing so the enemy’s gun fired and a bullet hit him in his chest, though he was saved by his body armour.
The battle raged in Helman province and it is reported that the small number of British SAS killed over thirty Afghan fighters.
An insider told a national newspaper:
“This shows how special forces can operate quickly against a ruthless enemy. The Taliban have been trying to move back into parts of Helmand province to try and flex their muscles before the troop withdrawal. And this shows why some British and US special forces may remain in Afghanistan after regular troops have gone home.”
It is reported that at one point the fighting was so intense that each side were so close they could hear one other reload. The SAS reportedly showed no fear to the enemy, with only one British SAS soldier injured in the “quick-draw” and over thirty Taliban dead, it was deemed a great success.