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UK To Get More Special Forces?

24.01.2010

The Daily Mail has reported that the Director of Special Forces (DSF) has requested a large increase in manpower for the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF).

A sustained campaign by UKSF in Helmand Province, Afghanistan has been spearheaded by the Special Boat Service (SBS), now bolstered by Squadrons from the 22nd Special Air Service (SBS) who have recently shifted focus from Iraq. The SBS and SAS have reportedly been targeting key leadership elements of the Taliban insurgency and the drugs trade that funds it. The Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) and Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) have also been active in Afghanistan, as have elements of UKSF(R) including 21 and 23 SAS.

The Daily Mail goes on to report that a further 1000 special forces troops will need to be found in order to sustain the special forces campaign in Helmand over the next 5 years. Around 200 Paras will be recruited into the SAS while the SBS will take in around a 100 new ranks, mostly from the Royal Marines. The remaining 700 or so troops will go into the SFSG.

It should be said that it's not clear if the DSF is asking the MoD for replacements for existing UKSF personnel, many of whom have left for lucrative jobs on the PMC circuit, or requesting additional men. Leaving aside the additional resources such extra troops would require, UK Special Forces have stringent selection criteria and it's not a simple matter to suddenly swell the ranks while maintaining standards

SBS - Afghanistan
SBS personnel pictured with Supacat HMT 400 vehicles in Afghanistan. Since their initial deployment in October 2001, the SBS have carried out a number of successful operations against the Taliban

Further reading:
SAS chief calls for 1,000 more elite troops to fight Taliban as battles with insurgents intensify
(The Daily Mail)

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