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December 29, 2002 | David Zucchino, Times Staff Writer
With machine guns rocking in their turrets, a convoy of Special Forces soldiers plowed into this mountain town in pursuit of enemy fighters one cold winter afternoon. What they found instead was a knot of rumors and contradictions. The local police intelligence chief, squatting on the dirt floor of his compound, told the Americans intriguing tales of armed Taliban and Al Qaeda supporters massed in a nearby valley. The soldiers braced for battle.
October 10, 2010 | By Aimal Yaqubi and Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
A British aid worker was killed by her captors after a failed rescue attempt by NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan, the British government said Saturday. Linda Norgrove, 36, was taken hostage along with three of her Afghan co-workers in an ambush two weeks ago while visiting a project in Kunar province along the border with Pakistan. Her colleagues had already been released. The British government gave few details on the Friday night rescue attempt, a former United Nations worker who headed a $150-million project attempting to strengthen local economies for the U.S. aid group Development Alternatives Inc. NATO allies received a tip on Norgrove's whereabouts, and a decision was reportedly reached that her best chance, given the danger she faced, was to send in U.S. special forces.
August 22, 2012 | By David S. Cloud and Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has made contingency plans to send small teams of special operations troops into Syria if the White House decides it needs to secure chemical weapons depots now controlled by security forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, senior U.S. officials said. President Obama warned this week that any effort by Assad to move or use his arsenal of chemical munitions in the country's conflict would cross a "red line," implying it could prompt swift U.S. intervention.
January 12, 2013 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times
TARIN KOWT, Afghanistan - A shy boy with filthy hands and a shabby tunic approached the great man, bowed and tried to kiss his hand. Gen. Matiullah Khan was seated like a sultan on a cushion in his hojra , his airy receiving room. He barely looked at the boy. He nodded to an aide, who withdrew a thick wad of Pakistani rupees from his pocket and handed it to Matiullah. The most powerful man in Oruzgan province, a warlord and tribal leader turned police chief, glanced at the cash.
March 22, 2003 | From Staff and Wire Reports
Col. Edson Raff, who bucked higher-ups in the Army to outfit Special Forces units with what would become their trademark green berets, died March 11 in Garnett, Kan. He was 95. Raff came up with the distinctive beret in 1954 as a way to boost the flagging morale of a Special Forces unit of which he had been given command. Officers of the 77th Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg, N.C., adopted the beret and picked a green color similar to that of British Royal Marine commandos.
Although retired Army Col. Aaron Bank never completed his most important mission--a top secret 1945 assignment to kidnap Adolf Hitler in Austria--today the 94-year-old founder of the famed Green Berets is still a hero among members of the Army Special Forces Command. "Col. Bank is the father of the Special Forces," said Carol Jones, a spokeswoman for the Army Special Operations Command at Ft. Bragg, N.C. "He is the cornerstone of our Special Forces heritage."
October 13, 2002 | From Associated Press
Faced with a critical shortage of native Arabic speakers, the Army is considering recruiting Middle Easterners into the ranks of its elite Special Forces, defense officials say. The proposal, which would require congressional approval, has not yet been endorsed by top Army leaders or the Pentagon. The Army's interest reflects the seriousness of a problem that looms large in the global war on terrorism: The Special Forces are stretched thin, particularly in Arab linguists.
February 2, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
U.S. Special Forces have scaled back their presence in northern Afghanistan, but military investigators are still "pursuing leads" on key Taliban figures or those linked to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, a U.S. commander said. The cut in the Special Forces contingent suggests U.S. military interrogators have nearly finished with the major task of questioning the remaining 3,500 Taliban prisoners in a severely crowded compound in the northern city of Shibergan.
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