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The role of Britain's special forces, such as the Special Air Service, has transformed over the years; from defeating Hitler, to facing down the Soviet Union, to their current preoccupation : fighting the global war against terrorism.

New British special forces regiments have been formed to assist in 'the long war', as it's sometimes called. Governments around the world are putting more stock in the need for special forces : small, well trained and supported units operating on battlefields where the battle lines are poorly defined with enemies mixed amongst friends. The United Kingdom has recently added several new special forces units to its ranks, (the SRR & the SFSG), as well as bolstering the existing units (the SAS & the SBS), a move that signals a willingness to engage in the asymmetric warfare of the 21st century.

Special forces are sometimes referred to as 'force multipliers' - a recognition that these small teams of operators can achieve results comparable with much larger forces; whether by integrated with their own military or by training and operating alongside foreign forces. In Afghanistan, 2001, US special forces worked closely with Northern Alliance troops, coordinating attacks and calling in coalition air strikes. By employing SF in this way, the coalition was able to oust the Taliban with the minimum of ground troops whilst fostering a positive relationship with the indigenous friendly forces.

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