Around 300 Iraqi soldiers have just completed a six-week training course at Camp Taji bringing the total number of Iraqi Security Forces trained by the combined Australian-New Zealand training force to nearly 7000.
Major General Tim Gall, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said our personnel make every effort to provide high-quality training in a challenging environment.
“The Building Partner Capacity Mission helps the ISF build the combat power necessary to sustain operations against Daesh,” Major General Gall said .
“It has been encouraging to see that our training efforts are paying off.
“Early this year, some of the Iraqi soldiers we trained were involved in the successful counter-offensive operation in Ramadi.”
Captain Mahmood Mohammed of the Iraqi Army Junior Leaders School said the soldiers were keen to apply what they learnt from their New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) trainers.
“The soldiers will pass on their skills when they return to their units and lead their men in the battle against Daesh,” he said.
Captain Mohammed said the trainees practised fighting in squads and trained in urban warfare. They also learned fire control as a way of maintaining a disciplined approach as they fight.
A number of the Iraqi soldiers said they were raring to join the assault against Daesh now they have completed their training.
“The New Zealand soldiers are good people; they are happy to help Iraq,” said Corporal Abbas, who was named one of the best trainees in this particular intake.
“Now that we have finished the course, we all want to go to Fallujah to help the people there in the fight against Daesh.”
Around 100 NZDF personnel and some 300 Australian Defence Force troops make up the ANZAC training force based at Iraq’s Camp Taji.
The New Zealand and Australian troops are among several thousand trainers from across the international coalition who support training programmes focused on individual soldier skills, weapons handling, combat first aid, live-fire and close-quarters marksmanship, obstacle breaching techniques, counter-IED procedures, map reading and leadership, as well as tactics and techniques for squad through to company-level operations.
All ISF soldiers are also taught the fundamentals of international human rights legislation and the Law of Armed Conflict.
The third rotation of Task Group Taji recently took over from rotation 2 – read here.