The Agrupación de Fuerzas Especiales Antiterroristas Urbanas (AFEAU), translating to the “Urban Counter-Terrorism Special Forces Group,” is a top-tier special operations unit of the Colombian Armed Forces responsible for counter-terrorism operations. The article delves into the history, organization, recruitment, armament, and notable operations of the AFEAU.
- Formation and Background: Established in response to guerrilla group-led terrorist acts in cities, the AFEAU’s creation was particularly influenced by two terrorist attacks: the Dominican embassy siege in 1980 and the Palace of Justice siege in 1985.
- Structure: The AFEAU is composed of three groups representing the Army (Alpha), Navy (Bravo), and Air Force (Charly) and falls under the direct command of the Joint Special Operations Command and the Colombian President.
- Symbols: The AFEAU’s insignia embodies its multi-branch structure, featuring a helmet with the Colombian flag’s colors representing the Army, wings for the Air Force, and an anchor for the Navy.
- Recruitment and Training: Potential AFEAU members must be part of the Colombian Armed Forces or the National Police, undergo a stringent selection process, and complete a comprehensive six-month Special Forces Course.
- Operations: Throughout its history, AFEAU has undertaken various high-profile operations, including safeguarding VIPs, counteracting guerrilla and terrorist groups, and participating in hostage rescue missions.