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|Special forces have one of the most important roles to play in any of the US's armed engagements.
This is because America does not want a repeat of the Vietnam War where it committed huge numbers of troops to fight a conventional war against an unconventional enemy.
Special forces are highly trained, mobile, work in small units and travel relatively lightly.
This makes them ideal for dangerous missions behind enemy lines.
BBC News Online examines some of the techniques and equipment of special forces around the world.
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