Second Wave of NZDF Trainers Deploys to Iraq

NZDF personnel train with members of the Australian Army in preparation for the second deployment of trainers to Iraq

New Zealand Defence Force personnel train with members of the Australian Army during the mission readiness exercise for the second rotation of Task Group Taji at Kokoda Barracks in Queensland in late October. The mission readiness exercise consisted of a number of realistic training serials which were designed to replicate the conditions the troops may face in Iraq.

Photo courtesy of the Australian Defence Force

3 November 2015

The second rotation of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) trainers left for Iraq today to take part in the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission, training the Iraqi Security Forces.

About 105 NZDF personnel left Brisbane as part of the combined Australia-New Zealand non-combat training force known as Task Group Taji. Like the first rotation of the BPC mission, they will be based at Taji Military Complex north of Baghdad to help train the Iraqi Army and empower them in their fight against the violent extremist group ISIL (Daesh).

Farewelling the contingent in Brisbane, Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said: “On behalf of the Defence Force, I wish you all the best as you begin your mission and a safe return to your families and friends.”

MAJGEN Gall also said that Task Group Taji has “achieved good progress in the six months since our training mission began”.

“The Iraqi soldiers as well as their officers have been eager to learn the skills they need to push back Daesh and recover lost territory. Some of those we have trained are now taking part in the counter-offensive against Daesh,” he said.

“The training that we and our Australian partners have been providing has helped the Iraqi Army slowly regain their confidence in themselves and their equipment. The Iraqis need to keep or increase this level of confidence to have a far better chance of defeating Daesh.”

More than 100 NZDF personnel were deployed in late April alongside the Australian Defence Force to train Iraqi Security Forces to become better fighters. The deployment will be for two years, with a review after nine months.

The first rotation of Task Group Taji has trained up to 2100 Iraqi soldiers so far and expects to train a further 2000 soldiers in coming weeks.

The training provided by Task Group Taji covers weapons handling, combat first aid, live fire training and drills in complex warfighting environments. Other specialised courses provide lessons on map reading, use of the Global Positioning System, marksmanship and leadership, among other topics. Iraqi soldiers are also taught the fundamental aspects of international humanitarian law and the Law of Armed Conflict.

“Our challenge now is to live up to the strong reputation that the first rotation established in Taji. All of our training and preparation to date, and all the support our families have given us make us confident that we can uphold and build on this reputation,” said the Senior National Officer of the NZDF’s second rotation to Iraq.

In the past three weeks, soldiers who form part of the second NZDF rotation to Iraq trained with members of the Australian Army at Kokoda Barracks in Queensland. The training was designed to replicate the conditions the troops may face in Iraq.


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This page was last reviewed on 4 November 2015.