British special forces soldiers reported an audacious plan to escape from Afghanistan in which they had to dress in burqas and impersonate women to escape with their lives from Taliban forces. Needless to say, it’s not a question of “if” but “when” the incredible journey of these soldiers will be made into a movie, right?
The soldiers, who carried out top secret missions in the country, had to wear traditional attire on a journey of hundreds of kilometers until they reached the airport in Kabul, where they finally managed to board the rescue flight direct to England. The SAS (Special Air Service) soldiers, who worked alongside members of the Afghan security forces, managed to avoid capture with their disguises, even though they encountered a series of Taliban roadblocks in their path, one of the British reported to the Daily Star.
“The SAS team had been in Afghanistan for months and was on a covert recon mission when everything went wrong,” the source told the Star. “They were instructed to abort the operation and prepare for an immediate extraction to Kabul. The troops abandoned most of the equipment, except weapons and ammunition, and covered themselves with burqas,” he continued. The source added: “Every time they arrived at a roadblock, an Afghan special forces soldier explained that the women were very devout and wanted to welcome the Taliban to Afghanistan.” And the plan worked. Since looking directly into a woman’s faces and eyes is taboo among the Taliban, hardly anyone would lift the veil from the burqas and discover the soldiers.
According to the report, the unit had about 20 soldiers who hid in traditional garb and used a fleet of taxis to transport them from their secret base to Kabul. Elite soldiers allegedly posed as women and waved Taliban flags as they claimed they were going to Kabul to welcome the terrorists as “heroic liberators.”
And it is claimed that once the group reached the security of British forces at the airport, they rewarded themselves with a well-deserved cup of tea. SAS forces are known to have operated on covert missions in Afghanistan, whether it be disrupting terrorist cells or training the country’s security forces. This particular group was on a mission in the south of the country when it was informed that no helicopter could reach their location to rescue them. With no choice, they opted to hide in plain sight and don burqas before hiring five taxis and heading to Kabul. The Afghan soldiers they worked with would also have volunteered to help them escape.
Taliban forces often require women to wear full burqas to match their strict interpretation of Islamic law. The use of clothing in itself does not represent an attack on women’s freedom, as it is a representation of local culture and tradition, but the set of measures that cut women’s rights by the Taliban command has made the burka the icon of the oppression carried out by the fundamentalist movement.