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Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, 2003 it has been reported that an SAS Squadron has been assigned to a joint US/UK group of Special Operations units operating in the country, known previously as Task Force 145 (TF-145).

Now reportedly renamed to TF-88, this cream of Western Special Operators consists of several elements:

  • TF Black - - made up of an SAS sabre squadron, supported by a Company of SFSG (TF Maroon). Some SBS operators are thought to be attached to TF Black.
  • TF Blue - US Navy SEALs from DEVGRU (Seal Team 6)
  • TF Green - 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - or 'Delta Force'
  • TF Orange - signals intelligence gathers from the ISA
Mark Urban's account of the SAS's secret war in Iraq, focusing on Task Force Black, caused controversy when Director Special Forces (DSF) refused to approve its publication.

more info on the book (

**to be published on Feb 18th 2010**

Elements of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), US 24th Special Tactics Squadron, aircraft from the UK's 7 and 47 RAF Squadrons, along with a RAF Puma flight, provide specialised air support for TF-88. American military intelligence operatives alongside the UK's Joint Support Group, elements of MI6 and the SRR are believed to be attached to the Task Force to provide intelligence support. 18 UKSF Signals and their US equivalents (Task Force Orange) provide signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilties to the task force.

The primary role of TF-88 is to hunt down senior members of Al-Qaeda operating in Iraq. To this end, the Task Force has had several successes including the killing of Al-Zarqawi. In response to a spate of kidnappings involving Westerners, TF-88's remit expanded to include countering this threat.

TF-Black is based in headquarters known as 'the Station', within Baghdad's green zone.

**update ** it is believed that the SAS is no longer operating in Iraq has been redeployed to Afghanistan.

Task Force Black Operations

  • In July 2003, an SAS team performed a close target reconnaisance of a residence in Mosul, thought to contain Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam's sons. British commanders pushed for the SAS to raid the house but are denied. A combined force of US Delta Force and the 101st Airborne eventually attacked the building and killed Uday and Qusay.

  • Operation Marlborogh
    In July 2005 an SAS sniper team neutralized an insurgent bomb squad before they could reach their targets in the city.

  • In March 2006, in a bloodless operation, the SAS rescued British activist, Norman Kember, and 2 Canadians who had been kidnapped in Baghdad
    more info: SAS rescue Norman Kember

  • September 5th, 2007 - A 30-man SAS team assaulted a house that intel had pinpointed as the location of a senior Al-Qaeda figure. The mission was a success but sadly it costs the life of one of the SAS assaulters.
    more info : SAS soldier killed in mass raid on Al-Qaeda chief
    (Times Online report)

  • March 26th, 2008 - 1 SAS soldier from Task Force Black is killed during an operation against insurgents in a town in Northern Iraq.
    more info : 'Ambush' that left SAS trooper dead
    (BBC News Report)

As with its other commitments such as counter-terrorism and training, the SAS rotates a squadron into Task Force Black on a 6-monthly basis.

SAS Task Force Black Related Items:

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Mark Urban's detailed look at UKSF counter-insurgency operations in Iraq. Absolutely essential reading.

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