London, (IANS) Troops of Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to conduct counter-terrorism operations against the remnants of Al Qaeda after British soldiers leave, a media report said.
Sources told the Daily Mail said members of the elite regiment will remain in Helmand province to help Afghan forces weed out the militants.
Officials said a “great majority” of British forces would come home but the SAS and their naval counterparts, the Special Boat Service, are almost certain to remain after the deadline.
The SAS and SBS have done valuable work uncovering Taliban bomb factories and identifying the location of their leaders for many attacks.
Britain is also running an officer-training school in the Afghan capital.
Security sources said the size of the British deployment would depend on where Al Qaeda was operating in 2014.
A senior British official said: “Our forces will not remain in a combat role in Afghanistan beyond 2014. The majority that remain will be in a training and mentoring role. But I wouldn’t rule out a small number of forces playing a counter-terrorism role if needed.”