An Iraqi soldier looks through the scope on his rifle during training delivered by a combined New Zealand-Australian task group in Iraq’s Camp Taji.
25 August 2017
About 1300 more Iraqi Security Forces are heading to the front line after completing recently six weeks of training provided by a combined New Zealand-Australian task group.
The latest batch of graduates brings to more than 26,000 the total number of Iraqi troops trained by Task Group Taji, which comprises about 100 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) soldiers and 300 Australian Defence Force personnel.
“This is a significant milestone for our combined training mission in Iraq and a significant contribution to the continuing fight against ISIS,” Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.
“Although ISIS extremists have been expelled from Mosul they still control slivers of territory in areas such as Tal Afar and Hawija,” Major General Gall said. “Our training mission is helping the Iraqi Army generate more capable fighters to liberate these areas from the control of this terror group.”
NZDF’s Senior National Officer in Taji said the recent graduates were from the Iraqi Iraqi Army’s 53rd Brigade and would be deployed to support the continuing campaign to defeat ISIS.
Since May 2015 the NZDF has been contributing to the international effort to help train and build the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces. The fifth rotation of 106 NZDF soldiers left for Iraq in May and is based at the Taji Military Complex northwest of Baghdad.
Task Group Taji’s training programme covers skills such as weapons handling, night combat and marksmanship at close quarters and longer ranges. All Iraqi Security Forces are also taught the fundamental aspects of international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.