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Baghdad’s Finest: A look at Iraq’s vaunted special forces

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BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq’s special forces, which barreled into a town east of Mosul on Thursday despite a wave of suicide attacks, are the country’s most professional and least sectarian fighting force.

Officially known as the Counter Terrorism Service, the U.S. trained troops have played a key role in wresting back towns and cities from IS, and are expected to lead the charge in Mosul, their toughest battle yet.

Here is a look at Iraq’s special forces:

MADE IN AMERICA

The CTS was established by the American military shortly after the 2003 invasion as an elite commando unit charged with hunting down top insurgents and carrying out complex raids. They were trained, armed and supplied by U.S. Special Forces, who fought alongside them at the height of the insurgency.

The force proved to be a more reliable partner to the Americans than the mainstream security forces, where corruption was rife and many units were tied to parties or militias. But many Iraqis saw the special forces as the shock troops of an occupying power, and took to referring to them as the “Dirty Division.” – READ MORE

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