Since 9/11, many of the World’s Nations have progressively invested large sums of money to protect their citizens, property, and ancillary services from the threats of Terrorist attacks.
Police Forces have increased in number; given more powers in the search and hold of suspected terrorists; whole new Counter-Terrorist Units have been formed to work alongside the Police Force of that Country.
While this has been successful in most countries, there are those nations that cannot afford the required investment in such a program. Some say that the attacks in almost all European countries have been carried out by ‘Lone Wolves’ or small cells that have crept into the country under the constant eye of Authorities after ISIS territory collapsed. Thus, there are those who would say the vast investment was superfluous and worthless.
The quandary in doing nothing over the vast sums invested will place all the citizens of that country in constant fear, insecurity, and paranoia.
Certain Parliaments arguing the point ad nauseam resulting in inaction. Regardless, it has been the citizens who have paid with their lives when car bombs and suicide bombers have blown themselves and who-ever into meaty little chunks.
What-ever, the means to employ men to thwart these terrorist attacks has meant that increased investment is involved. The panacea for many woes in western societies.
What would be the reaction of World’s Governments if the number of suspects under twenty-four-hour surveillance slowly decreases in number. Would the unknown culprits be hunted down and brought to justice? Or would the Governments still be aloof knowing that such clandestine operations were saving them enormous amounts of money?
If caught, would these clandestine ‘shooters’ be held responsible for murder? Or would they be moved under the cloak of darkness to another part of the country waiting for the furore to subside before letting these people back into society? Would those responsible face the full force of the law of that Nation, charged with murder and suffering the fate of many who sit on ‘death row’?
What is the moral dilemma between those that obey orders to carry out such actions under the seal of that Country’s Defence Forces and those who have been selected to carry out similar actions by unknown authorities for far more money than base-grade Defence Forces salary scales? What is the difference? And is that allegiance of a dangerous nature?
They had trekked for three days from their ‘drop-off’ point to arrive at their predetermined surveillance position. A freezing cold wind whipped down the valley and bounced off the steep barren rock walls to whistle over the edge of the sharp serpentine ridgeline. The squad had set up their hutches in the half-light of dawn right at the edge of the high escarpment with a sheer drop of some 700 metres to the valley floor below. Their predetermined position was superb as they had uninterrupted views of the valleys on either side of their position; both snaking away into the distance towards the Pakistani border that was only around twenty kilometres away as the crow flies. Several minor valleys and lessor ridge lines were in full view and were known to be criss-crossed with Taliban supply tracks leading to a labyrinth of caves on the opposite valley side that were used as staging and rest areas during the winter months.
Eight of the ten-men squad were strung out for some one and a half kilometres at the edge of that precipice which gave half the squad a clear view up the valley; the remainder a complete vista down the valley as it dog-legged at that point. That was the positive aspect of their position; the negative was that the wind buffeted and scrambled to complete the turn of the valley only to whip itself into a frenzy as it clipped over the ridge angered by its inability to negotiate the elbow turn directly below them.
The two other squad members were the ‘tail-end charleys’ who were positioned further down the trail they had slowly traversed to reach their desired location. Those two were positioned in the lee of the wind to protect the squad’s rear position, the line of retreat and warn of any ‘Indians’ coming along the only trail that led up onto this high and exposed eyrie. They would remain hidden in their individual hutches for some three to ten days, hoping that the predicted snow flurries would occur as this would blanket their precarious positions and make detection almost impossible. They also hoped that the early season snowstorm would let up when they decided to decamp as lumping all their equipment through thigh-high drifts in this type of terrain was also almost impossible. If push came to shove, they could remain in hiding for up to 14 days maximum but that left them perilously short of supplies for the arduous trek out.
In these conditions it could take another 4 to 6 days to arrive at their pre-arranged ‘pick-up’ point which hopefully remained a ‘cold zone’ area for their extraction.
To say this was a valley would be a little misleading as it was more a gorge gouged out by an ancient glacier long gone. The gorge was typically ‘U-shaped’, its depth from around 200 to 700 metres with a width of 1.7 to 2.4 kilometres. The track that was their centre of attention was precariously more a ledge that hugged the almost vertical side for some 1500 metres, sloping to allow access into a cave system some 30 metres from the plateau top. This cave system was used as a staging area, rest stop and secure respite from the snowstorms which came from nowhere at this elevation.
They went through the standard series of checks ensuring that their Personal Radio Send/Receive equipment was up and working. This allowed them a short radius of communication but enough to keep in contact with every man of the squad. They checked that the Sniper rifle with its huge bulbous silencer, gas suppressor and day/night super scope was locked and ready. They would check the small ’blueberry’ attachment that was fed with the crucial elements for a possible 2000 to 2500 metre shot, possible in these conditions and altitude when the storm and strong winds abated. These uploads were constantly being automatically checked, updated and downloaded once the rifle was ‘locked and loaded’. An update on wind speed and direction, ambient temperature, humidity, altitude, earth rotational ‘twist’ and angle of depression or elevation that the rifle was aimed at were the critical factors. When the rifle was in the ‘ready’ mode to fire at a target, the slight variations to these external elements allowed automatic miniscule adjustment to be made that was all important for success at such an extreme long-range shot and in these adverse climatic conditions. With their targets some 2000 to 2100 metres away, they could depend on the element of surprise with their rifles being also fitted with a two stage noise silencer system and flash and smoke suppression equipment which minimised the tell-tales that that would give an observant 'lookout' an indication on the position of the marksmen.
This distance was towards the maximum effective kill range of their modified SR98 Sniper rifles. The Squad would usually work within the 1.8 to 2.4-kilometre range, rarely using these rifles below the kilometre kill range.
In these condition they were relying on the very fact that the Unit was spread out on either side of the dog-leg of the high ridgeline for almost a kilometre and along with the acoustics of the bare, steep sided valley with its elbow bend before them, if the men could co-ordinate their initial shots to a half second maximum duration, the subsequent slight reverberations would be so muddled and jumbled that the judgement on the positions of the marksmen would be somewhat in doubt'