It echoes the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster, but the deaths of seven British troops at the hands of a highly-trained and highly-skilled Afghan sniper in Sangin is a very real problem.
During a five-month killing spree, the sniper has stalked the 3rd Battalion, the Rifles, picking off individuals including a British sniper who was on the lookout for the shooter himself.
Three of those killed were considered among the best in their field.
Now the SAS is hunting the sniper who is stalking them across the streets of the city considered the most dangerous in Afghanistan.
The scene is chillingly reminiscent to the storyline of the 2001 film Enemy at the Gates, in which Jude Law and Ed Harris play rival Soviet and German snipers stalking each other across Stalingrad during World War II.
It is thought the Taliban killer may have been trained in neighbouring Iran or by Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan. His youngest victim was just 19.
'Their sniper is giving us real problems and we've not yet worked out how to take him down,' said a senior British Army officer who recently visited the town in Helmand province.
'Our snipers are some of the best-trained and capable soldiers we have. When you lose one it is telling you something.'
Another soldier added: 'The Taliban sniper must watch our guys for days to wait for the best situation to open fire and still make his escape.
'So far he has not been taken down, even though the SAS have carried out several forays into the area.'
In total some 53 British servicemen have been killed in the vacinity of Sangin in the last 12 months, with 12 times the average casualty rate for Nato forces in the country
The senior officer added: 'There seem to be enough spy drones and troops for the size of area. The conclusion is the Taliban have outside help — from either Iran or Al-Qaeda in Pakistan — to train up their guys.'
Major-General Gordon Messenger, UK spokesman for operations in Afghanistan, said: 'The casualty toll in Sangin is tragically high but our forces remain very much on the front foot and are determined to maintain the progress that they and their predecessors have achieved.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1265320/Deadly-Taliban-sniper-stalks-British-troops-echoes-Hollywood-blockbuster.html#ixzz0kxhEt0wX
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