The ninth rotation of about 70 New Zealand Defence Force troops left today for a training mission in Iraq.
CAPTION: A New Zealand soldier bound for Operation Manawa 9 says good bye at RNZAF Base Ohakea Air Movements terminal. NZDF photo.
The latest deployment brings to about 900 the total number of troops sent by the NZDF to Iraq over the past four years, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said.
“Our Defence Force has been contributing to the international effort to help train and build the capacity of Iraqi Security Forces personnel,” Rear Admiral Gilmour said after he farewelled the troops at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea.
“This means thousands of newly trained Iraqi soldiers, border guards and police protecting their country and securing its borders.”
More than 44,000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel have received training from Task Group Taji, which comprises NZDF troops and Australian Defence Force personnel, since its training mission began in May 2015.
Many of the Iraqi personnel trained by the combined New Zealand-Australian task group took part in the campaign to retake parts of Iraq from the terrorist group Islamic State.
Several Iraqi Security Forces personnel trained by Task Group Taji had also taken over some of the training in a self-sustaining cycle, Rear Admiral Gilmour said.
“This is the ultimate goal of our building partner capacity mission – Iraqi forces with an enhanced capability to train their personnel and protect their national security,” he said.
The training courses or programmes of instruction usually run for six weeks. The training covers individual soldier skills, including weapons handling and marksmanship at close quarters and longer ranges.
It also includes combat first aid and obstacle-breaching techniques, as well as counter-improvised-explosive-device and explosive-hazard-awareness training.
All Iraqi Security Forces personnel are also taught the fundamental aspects of international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.