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Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Scots link to US terror suspect
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden is protected by former Mujahedin
Guerrillas who protect US terror attack suspect Osama bin Laden were trained in Scotland, it has been alleged.

A former member of the SAS told the Sunday Mail newspaper that he helped train Mujahedin fighters at two secret camps in Scotland and another in northern England during the 1980s.

Ken Connor said the training helped to transform the Afghan men into a "fighting unit" that inflicted heavy casualties on Russian forces occupying their country.

But the newspaper says that some of the same men may now be used to kill western troops who attempt to capture or destroy bin Laden.

Ken Connor
Ken Connor: "Fearsome enemy"
Mr Connor said one of the training camps was located in mountains surrounding the Criffel in Dumfries while the other was in the remote Applecross peninsula in the West Highlands.

He said: "The Mujahedin fighters were already excellent soldiers committed to their cause.

"The main thing they lacked was tactical knowledge and battle planning, so we worked constantly on that.

"Some helicopter training was also arranged for them and they were taught how to attack airfields.

"But the main achievement was to turn them from a disorganised mob into a fighting unit."

Soviet invasion

Mr Connor said that the Afghan rebels were trained in Scotland in 1983 - four years after the former Soviet Union invaded their country.

He said the year after they returned to fight the occupying forces they killed 2343 Soviet troops.

The former SAS member also said that if some of the same men were now protecting bin Laden then they would make a "fearsome enemy" for any western forces sent to capture the Saudi dissident.

He added: "It's a landlocked country and the terrain is such that a couple of dozen soldiers could fight off thousands.

"And this is the scary bit. I don't think there's a way of getting bin Laden out.

"Unless the Taleban lock him up and present him to the US, he's not coming."

See also:

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