HeadLine: £70,000 bounty on our boys
The Mirror, 17/04/2002, p1
by SHAUN MILNE
CRACK Scots commandos have had a £70,000 price put on their heads by
The terror leaders are desperate to capture a soldier from Britain’s
elite battlegroup or their American allies and are offering cash to
anyone who snares them.
Osama bin Laden’s twisted henchmen plan to parade any hostage before TV
cameras in a sick propaganda stunt, similar to the harrowing footage of
two badly-beaten RAF airmen taken prisoner during the Gulf War.
Military experts say Afghan warlords could torture any Brit captives –
or use them to secure the release of terror suspects held at Camp X-Ray
Ministry of Defence sources admit their troops have been put through
intensive training to prepare them for survival in the blood-soaked
hands of the Taliban.
And rapid response teams are poised to strike behind enemy lines to
retrieve any prisoners.
A senior US military official told the Daily Mirror last night: “A
price has been put on the heads of coalition forces – including British
and American troops.
“We take the threat seriously but we won’t let it scare us.
“We have forces that could react with speed and firepower to any type
of threat to our soldiers.”
The threat comes two months after US journalist Daniel Pearl was slain
by Islamic extremists after being taken to be used for bargaining.
Troops at the forefront of any enemy snatch attempts include 45
Commando, based at Arbroath in Angus.
They were confirmed as having left their Bagram airbase in Afghanistan
and are fighting in the mountains.
Over the last few days, defiant Taliban and al-Qaeda chiefs have
distributed leaflets in Pakhtia province – the intended destination of
the Royal Marines – urging Afghans to capture Westerners.
The sickening reward is $100,000 – £70,000 – if the prisoner is taken
alive and $50,000 – £35,000 – if they are dead.
Charles Fletcher, a Scots broadcaster working in Kabul, said: “It
doesn’t matter whether you are a marine from 45 Commando or an American
from Oklahoma, whether you are peace keeping or fighting.
“The whole idea is to undermine the coalition.”
Ex-SAS and Falklands War veteran Eddie Stone, from Glasgow, feared any
British prisoners would not survive.
Mr Stone, who runs Stirling Services survival camp in Wales, said: “I
can see Afghans trying to capture one of our boys but it might not be a
live body that is paraded. It might be a dead one.
“They may take photos as a political statement and execute them.”
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