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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 09:27 GMT
Your questions on the war
Chris Donnelly in Perth, Western Australia asks:

What will be the role of British Marines in the ground campaign? And what is the strength of the Royal Marine Deployment? Also, has the Australian SAS taken part in any action as yet?

BBC defence correspondent Paul Adams writes:

Some 230 or so members of the Royal Marines (from 40 Commando) are currently assigned to Operation Veritas, a task force stationed in the Arabian Sea (essentially sailing in the same waters as the American flotilla). They've been there some weeks and some, possibly as many as 50, have been sent to augment the British force at the Bagram airbase, north of Kabul.

Australia said 120 of its elite SAS troops left Perth to join an advance group of 30 already in Kuwait

We have not been told of any other missions carried out by the Marines so far. Members of 45 Commando were part of the much larger force (5 - 6,000) who were on 48 hours notice to leave the UK. However, they, and most others, were on Monday taken back to a week's notice. Only 2 Para and other elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade remain on 2 days notice.

As for Australian SAS forces, Australia said 120 of its elite SAS troops have left Perth to join an advance group of 30 already in Kuwait, awaiting deployment in Afghanistan to support the US-led campaign.

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