It has widely been reported that a SAS squadron of up to 40 members has asked to stay behind in Afghanistan after the Kabul airport blast, to fight ISIS-K.
According to the UK’s Express, sources say the SAS squadron would like to set up a base local to Afghanistan, and in a move which some may have suspected but which has not been verified, Express reports that in addition to casting in their lot with the Royal Navy’s SBS special forces, SAS will coordinate with the U.S. Army’s Delta Force and the Navy SEALs. This has not been corroborated in any other source.
As previously reported, Trump had intended to leave U.S. Special Forces behind in Afghanistan. Former Trump official Christopher Miller detailed that the Trump administration knew special forces would be left behind after the May 1 withdrawal deadline.
According to Defense One, Miller, a former Green Beret and Trump’s final national security advisor said that it was evident to both the US administration as well as Afghan leaders at the time that a full withdrawal of American forces would leave Afghanistan too vulnerable to takeover, and a major concern was al Qaeda.
Miller said, “It would not have been appropriate to say ‘Is your Army going to collapse?’ But of course we were all thinking that.”
While the present administration has not described any further support forthcoming to those left in Afghanistan after the withdrawal deadline, Kash Patel, who ran Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, wrote in the New York Post that it was originally intended that “a small special-operations force would be stationed in the country to take direct action against any terrorist threats that arose. When all those conditions were met — along with other cascading conditions — then a withdrawal could, and did, begin.”
According to Patel, “The ongoing chaos — not least the stranding of US personnel and allies — was the natural result of the Biden administration’s decision to eschew a conditions-based plan.”
On Monday, Aug. 30, the Commander of US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie did reveal the involvement of special operations forces at a press conference. McKenzie said those forces “reached out to help bring in more than 1,064 American citizens and 2,017 SIVs or Afghans at risk, and 127 third-country nationals all via phone calls, vectors, and escorting.”
According to CNN, McKenzie did not specify the involvement of JSOC, which includes the Army’s Delta Force and Navy SEALs. This first public revelation from CENTCOM of special forces involvement, together with the whisperings from media regarding the SAS collaboration with the highest capability US special forces, marks the surfacing of what has previously been the only speculation.