Special Operations: Australians Head Back Into the Mountains


April 18, 2007: Australia is sending 300 of its SAS commandos back to Afghanistan. They are needed to gather intelligence on Taliban and al Qaeda leadership in the region. The Australian SAS has been particularly successful in Afghanistan, so much so that they are constantly being asked back. The Australians first got to Afghanistan in December 2001, and stayed through most of 2002. They then went to Iraq, and didn't get back to Afghanistan until 2005. In 2006, the Australians were in East Timor and the Philippines.

But now most of the Australian SAS is headed for Afghanistan, where the Taliban is trying to recover from the beating they took last year. The Afghan and foreign troops had no trouble defeating the Taliban last year, but now the Taliban are having problems back in Pakistan, and are off to a slow start in Afghanistan. The Taliban are vulnerable.

The Australians, and other commandos, are particularly good at sending small teams (often just two or three men) to follow up on information obtained from air reconnaissance, electronic eavesdropping or just a tip from someone in the area. What the commandos are looking to do is spot some senior Taliban or al Qaeda people sneaking around. The enemy leadership tend to travel inconspicuously, and not with a lot of bodyguards. The more senior they are, the less they use cell phones, or any form of electronic communication. These guys are hard to catch, because they are careful how they move. It takes highly trained people to track them down. This often involves staking out a village, or isolated compound, until Mister Big shows himself. Getting a smart bomb on the target is the easy part, identifying the target takes a lot more effort.

Commandos are also essential when you want to raid an isolated location, to capture important people, and grab valuable documents (often in the form of an intact laptop.) The Australians are particularly good at the stakeouts, and the snatching of important people and laptops.


Article Archive

Special Operations: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close