How do special forces minimize risks in hostage rescue missions?

“British aid worker Linda Norgrove may have been accidentally killed by US forces during a rescue mission in Afghanistan. It’s not the first time such a perilous task has ended tragically. So how are they planned and what are the key considerations?

Questions were already being asked as to why the operation failed, after it was initially reported that she had been killed when one of her captors detonated a suicide vest.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement that the 36-year-old Scot may have been killed by a US grenade has now put the mission under closer scrutiny.

All such missions are inherently dangerous. But how do special forces minimise the risks?

“Typically, you want to do the rescue operation as quickly as you can, with as much speed as possible because you want the captors to be confused as to how to respond.”

However, he says this is difficult because every operation is unique.

And no matter how well-planned is the operation, unexpected deviations are almost inevitable.

“You tend to have to make a lot of adjustments. You need people who are well trained at assessing situations and making spot decisions,” he added.”

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