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SAS To Come home From Afghanistan To Guard Olympics

21.06.2011

The Sun newspaper has reported that the Special Air Service (22 SAS) is to be pulled out of Afghanistan in 6 months time. The Regiment will return to the UK and focus on bolstering security for the 2012 Olympics Games, to be held in London in July and August next year.

Sabre squadrons from 22 SAS had previously redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan in 2008, joining the Special Boat Service (SBS) who have had squadrons operating there since 2001. According to the Sun, the SAS's targeting of key Taliban leadership personnel has been so successful that there is now a paucity of targets for the 500-strong British special forces task force to attack, leading to the decision to pull 22 SAS out. Even without the SAS squadrons, a sizeable number of UK Special Forces (UKSF) units will remain committed to the fight against the Taliban, including the aforementioned SBS, elements of the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG), the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) and associated aviation, intelligence and other support units. Troops from 21 and 23 SAS, the SAS reserves regiments, are also active in Afghanistan.

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Olympic CT Exercises

In related news, the Mirror reports that the SAS and SBS have carried out further anti-terror exercises related to the upcoming Olympics. The newspaper reports that small UKSF teams, working with armed police from CO19, have launched a series of night-time training operations around London, including the rescue of 'hostages' from a building close to the Tower Of London. The Sun last week reported on an exercise held at Loughborough University in which 25 'hostages' were rescued by the SAS following a simulated 2-day stand-off with Police. These latest reports were preceded by a similar story from last month which featured SAS/C019 teams in dramatic live-fire counter-terrorism exercises held at the Olympic Village.

UKSF carry out counter-terrorism exercises on a regular basis but these are not usually made public. The recent spate of press reports about these Olympics-related exercises may indicate that they have been publicised as part of a strategy to deter potential attackers.

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