Men of the elite British special forces regiment fought their way into a heavily-guarded stronghold, killing up to 25 of the enemy and seizing enough material to make 2,000 booby-trap bombs.
During the fierce battle lasting 24 hours, they amassed one of the biggest weapons hauls of the war so far
Four pressure cooker bomb traps and 18 pressure plate devices were uncovered as well as an armoury stacked with automatic rifles and ammo.
Opium and kit to turn it into heroin — the sale of which helps fund Taliban operations — were also seized.
When the fighting ceased 15 Taliban lay dead with no British killed. The SAS are certain that more Taliban were killed or wounded and carried away.
The brilliantly successful mission earlier this month in the Reg-e Khan Neshin district of Helmand destroyed a major centre that would have kept the enemy supplied for months.
Sun security advisor and SAS legend Andy McNab said: “This operation will set the Taliban back and is a huge coup for the Regiment. They were making bombs and stockpiling weapons to kill British soldiers on an industrial scale.”
Intelligence reports had identified a “Taliban transnational shipment and storage site” hidden in a bazaar.
After weeks of covert surveillance, Chinook helicopters landed SAS teams in a lightning attack. Afghan forces supported our men.
They were immediately attacked by Taliban fighters with machineguns and encountered hidden bombs. But they pressed on, supported by Apache helicopter gunships. Fighting to clear the area raged throughout one day, the night and into the next morning.
A military insider said: “All weapons, explosives, IEDs, narcotics, chemicals and insurgent paraphernalia were destroyed on the site.”
Major General Nick Carter, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said in The Sun yesterday that a succession of similar special forces raids was crippling the Taliban.