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Soldiers huddle under helicopter

Iraq War: The counter-insurgency

Between 2003 and 2009, British troops in Iraq were engaged in a counter-insurgency war. They also helped train local security units, assisted with reconstruction and provided humanitarian aid.

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A Royal Irish Regiment vehicle passes a burning oil well during the invasion of Iraq, March 2003

Iraq War: The invasion

In March 2003, British troops took part in a coalition invasion of Iraq. After a month of combat operations, they overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime and occupied the country.

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An SAS soldier aims a light machine-gun, c2005

What are the Special Forces?

The Special Forces are made up of several elite military units with distinct areas of expertise. Personnel are drawn from all three branches of the armed forces.

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Other ranks’ cap badge, Royal Corps of Signals, c1970

Royal Corps of Signals

The Royal Signals are a combat support arm that provides vital communication and information systems for the British Army wherever it operates in the world.

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Special Boat Service badge

Special Boat Service

This is Britain’s maritime special forces unit. Since the Second World War, its highly trained men have served around the world, on land and at sea, often carrying out daring undercover raids and engaging in marine counter-terrorism.

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Other ranks cap badge, The Parachute Regiment, c1973

The Parachute Regiment

The Parachute Regiment is Britain’s elite airborne infantry. Formed in 1942, its soldiers are trained to be resilient, disciplined, versatile, aggressive in battle and self-reliant.

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Crimean Tom, 1850s

Purrfect pals and pets for soldiers

Animals have always provided companionship to soldiers serving on the front lines.

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British soldiers watching the bombing of an enemy position in Musa Qala, 2006

War in Afghanistan

Britain's latest war in Afghanistan began in the wake of the '9/11' terrorist attacks on the United States. It continued for 13 years with the last combat troops leaving the country on 26 October 2014.

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