The New Zealand Defence Force last night welcomed home the second-last contingent of personnel who have been serving as part of the Building Partner Capacity Mission in Iraq.
CAPTION: NZDF Personnel deployed on the ninth rotation of Op Manawa to Camp Taji are welcomed home after six months away from friends and family. NZDF photo.
This ninth rotation left home in May for pre-deployment training with the Aussies in Australia before heading to Iraq.
NZDF deployed its 10th and final rotation of personnel to Taji Military Complex recently.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the NZDF’s wind-down plans in June.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said the final contingent brought the total number of personnel who have been deployed to Camp Taji since the mission began in May 2015 to just over 900.
“The numbers of personnel have been reduced from 75 in the previous rotation to 45 in the current rotation,” Rear Admiral Gilmour said.
“We are reducing the number of personnel deployed to Camp Taji in line with the conclusion of the mission.
“Planning is under way with the Australian Defence Force to ensure a smooth transition out of the mission by 30 June, 2020.’’
NZDF and ADF personnel have been delivering training jointly to Iraqi Security Forces in Camp Taji with more than 46,000 Iraqi personnel trained since the mission began.
Training initially included individual soldier skills, including weapons handling and marksmanship at close quarters and longer ranges, combat first aid and obstacle-breaching techniques, as well as counter improvised explosive device and explosive hazard awareness training.
Iraqi Security Forces personnel have also been taught international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.
The Building Partner Capacity mission was designed to progress from the delivery of training of soldiers to mentoring Iraqi Security Forces instructors, so that they have the capability and support to conduct their own training programmes.
Rear Admiral Gilmour said that with the shift in focus from individual training to training-the-trainers and, ultimately, institutional mentorship, the Iraqi Security Forces instructors at Taji were now well equipped to deliver training to their own soldiers after New Zealand [and Australia] withdraws.