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SAS History - 2000-present

2000 - Afghani Airliner
An Afghani Boeing 727 airliner is hijacked and flown to Stansted Airport in February 2000. The SAS anti-terrorist team deploys and prepares to storm the plane if necessary. The drama comes to a peaceful end as it emerges that the hijack was an immigration ploy by some of the passengers.

2000 - Sierra Leone

  • Summer 2000 : SAS patrols carry out fact-finding missions in support of the UN mission in the war-torn African nation.
  • May 23 - A small SAS team secure RUF leader Foday Sankoh during violent classhes in the Capital, Freetown. Sankoh is spirited away to British custody.
  • June 15 - SAS spotters on the ground help to guide Indian and British helicopters in rescuing more than 200 UN observers and soldiers held hostage by Revolutionary United Front rebels. (Operation Khukri)
  • September 2000 : When British Soldiers are held hostage by rebels, the SAS lead a daring rescue mission to free them.
    Read more on Operation Barras.

2001 - Macedonia
The SAS deploy to Macedonia as part of efforts to prevent another large-scale Balkans conflict.
source - the telegraph

2001 - Afghanistan
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the SAS deploy to Afghanistan.

  • SAS teams carry out reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and bomb damage assessment missions.
  • The Regiment carry out a large-scale assault on an opium processing plant doubling as a Taliban/Al-Qaeda base in 'Operation Trent'.
    Read more on Operation Trent.

2003 to date - Iraq
  • The SAS almost certainly played a role in the US-led invasion of Iraq although the precise details of their involvement are not publicly known as yet. Press reports indicate that the SAS/SBS were active around the Southern Iraqi City of Basra in support of 1 UK Armoured Division.
    source - the telegraph
    Other sources have reported that the SAS, in conjunction with US and Australian Special Forces were operating in the western Iraqi desert.
  • Following the initial invasion, the SAS work with TF-121 (now TF-88), a US-led team of Special Operations units tasked with hunting down high-value members of Saddam's regime as well as targetting Al-Qaeda. The SAS commit a full Squadron to 'Task Force Black'.
  • 2004 - October - The SAS is put on standby to rescue kidnapped British citizen, Ken Bigley who is later killed by his captors.
  • 2005 - July - A 16-man SAS sniper team kill 3 suicide bombers as they leave their house in Bagdhad.
    read more on Operation Marlborough
  • 2005 - 19th September - The SAS rescue 2 SRR operatives who had been held by Iraqi police with alleged links to the insurgency.
  • 2006 - 23rd March - Members of B Squadron, SAS, rescue British peace activist, Norman Kember + 2 Canadians from their kidnappers in Baghdad.
    read more : the SAS rescue of Norman Kember

2004 - X Squadron Created
It is rumored that a number of SAS and SBS operators form a new unit with a specific remit to fight the global war on terror. Based at the SBS HQ in Poole, Dorset, 'X Squadron' is thought to be modeled on the US TF-121 unit.
source - the sun

2004 - Testing Security At GCHQ
February - A joint SAS/SBS team infiltrate GCHQ, Britain's communications intelligence headquarters as a part of a security exercise.
source - the sun

2005 - The Olympics
The SAS, along with the SBS, are sent to Greece to advise the Greek authorities and to protect visiting British dignitaries against the threat of terrorism.
source - the telegraph

2005 - July bombings
Following 2 waves of terrorist attacks in London, UK Special Forces, including the SAS, SBS and SRR deploy on the streets of British cities, assessing security weak points and providing rapid-response support to police operations. SAS troopers, skilled in explosive entry, assist the Met Armed Response unit, C019, in arresting suspected terrorists.
source - sunday times

2006 - Domestic Counter-Terrorism Exercises
December - The SAS take part in 2 counter-terrorism exercises to test the UK's response to a Belsan-like incident at a British school.
source - the guardian

2007 - Somalia
The SAS reportedly deploy to Somalia in January, tracking down Al-Qaeda members fleeing from US air strikes.
source - sunday times

2007 - Afghanistan
18th January - The SAS sieze a Taliban leader in a 'snatch and grab' operation in Helmand Province, Afghansitan
source - the telegraph

2007 - London
22nd January - An SAS unit is reportedly permanently deployed to London in order to assist the Police in counter terrorist operations
source - the times

2007 - Ethiopia
March 7th - The SAS is put on standby to intervene in the kidnapping of Britons in Ethiopia.
source - the times

2007 - Baghdad
September - The SAS joins the hunt for an Al-Qaeda killer operating in Baghdad.
source - the telegraph

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