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SAS In Helmand As Sangin Under Threat

22.12.2015

British Special Forces are in Helmand Province fighting to regain control of a key town.

The Telegraph reports that around 30 soldiers from the 22nd Special Air Service have been deployed to Helmand in a bid to repel the Taliban from the town of Sangin. The town and its environs have been under a sustained attack by insurgents, with many parts now in Taliban hands. [1]

American Special Forces, in the form of a number of 12-man Operational Detachment- Alphas (ODA) or 'A Teams' are also said to have been deployed to Helmand.[2] U.S. Army Special Forces, otherwise known as the 'Green Berets' specialise in foreign internal defence (FID) i.e. training and advising the military of partner nations, a role that the SAS and SBS have also undertaken in Afghanistan.

The battle in Sangin is part of a larger picture of deteriorating security situation in Helmand Province. A resurgent Taliban have also overrun the town of Musa Qalah and there has been heavy fighting in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. In mid-October of this year, a small number of British Special Forces were reportedly deployed to Helmand in response to Taliban attacks.

Britain ended Operation Herrick in late 2014. Several hundred UK troops remain in Kabul on Operation Resolute Support, a NATO mission to provide military training and advisory support to Afghan government forces. A small number of British Special Forces have remained in the country, operating mainly from the capital, Kabul.

Sangin became a key battleground following the deployment of British forces to Helmand in 2006. Over 100 British soldiers lost their lives in Sangin Qala district, which is home to around 50,000 civilians, with 14,000 living in Sangin town.

British and American Special Forces are advising Afghan National Army (ANA) units in a bid to repel Taliban insurgents in Helmand Province.

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