NATO chiefs have praised the expertise the Special Air Service Regiment and Commandos demonstrated in Afghanistan, saying other armies could learn from their approach.

The comments came as Iraqi officials expressed confidence Islamic State would be crushed and driven out of the war-torn country by the end of the year.

Preparations for the liberation of Iraq’s second biggest city, Mosul, are well advanced, with the campaign expected to begin within weeks.

The fighting is tipped to be among the conflict’s bloodiest battles and widely anticipated as the key showdown between IS and Western nations.

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