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NZ Troops Help Train More Than 20,000 Iraqi Soldiers

About 1900 members of the Iraqi Federal Police on parade during their graduation ceremony, after completing five weeks of basic combat training at Camp Taji. Photo: United States Army

About 1900 members of the Iraqi Federal Police on parade during their graduation ceremony, after completing five weeks of basic combat training at Camp Taji. Photo: United States Army

21 February 2017

About 1900 members of the Iraqi Federal Police recently completed five weeks of basic combat training at Camp Taji, bringing to more than 20,000 the total number of Iraqi security forces trained by a combined New Zealand-Australian training task group.

The graduates comprise the first batch of police trained by Task Group Taji, which comprises about 100 New Zealand and 300 Australian soldiers.

“This is not just a training milestone,” Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said. “The latest batch of trainees to march out now form part of stabilisation forces who are working to ensure that the gains made against Daesh – in Ramadi, Fallujah, east Mosul and other parts of Iraq – are sustained.

“By providing world-class training to the Iraqi Army and police our personnel help ensure there is a steady flow of capable fighters who can sustain the Iraqi military’s counter-offensive operation against Daesh and keep the militants from regaining footholds in areas that have been cleared,” Major General Gall said.

New Zealand has been contributing to the international effort to increase the capacity of the Iraqi security forces since May 2015. The fourth rotation of Task Group Taji deployed last November to help the Iraqi military develop capable forces to defeat Daesh and reclaim Iraqi territory from the terrorist group.

The New Zealand Government announced in June 2016 that it had extended the NZDF contribution to the training mission until November 2018.

Small groups of the NZDF training and force protection teams are now travelling for short periods to other secure training locations in Iraq. Since last November New Zealand soldiers have been training stabilisation forces such as the Iraqi Border Guards in addition to the Iraqi Army.

The instruction is based on individual soldier skills, including weapons handling, and marksmanship at close quarters and longer ranges. It includes combat first aid, obstacle-breaching techniques, and counter-improvised explosive device and explosive hazard awareness training.

All Iraqi security forces are also taught the fundamentals of international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.

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