Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the training provided by a combined New Zealand-Australian task group has been “critical for the Iraqi Government to regenerate its combat power and sustain its military campaign against the terrorist group”. Photo: Australian Defence Force
1 September 2016
New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) trainers deployed to Iraq are maintaining a high operational tempo as local forces continue their counter-offensive against the terrorist organisation Daesh.
About 1600 Iraqi soldiers have just completed a four-week warfighting course at the Taji Military Complex. The NZDF’s Senior National Officer (SNO) in Iraq said the latest batch of graduates brought the total number of Iraqi troops trained by the combined New Zealand-Australia Building Partner Capacity task group to nearly 9000 since the mission deployed to Iraq in May 2015.
“By sharing our skills and experience, our trainers have been helping Iraqi Army officers and soldiers develop the skills and confidence they need to defeat Daesh. Iraqi commanders, civilian leaders and our Coalition partners value our contribution to the development of the Iraqi Army’s capability,” he said.
Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the training seeks to develop capable fighters to combat Daesh.
“Training Iraq’s ground forces has been critical for the Iraqi Government to regenerate its combat power and sustain its military campaign against the terrorist group,” MAJGEN Gall said.
“Some of the Iraqi Security Forces we have trained took part in operations that reclaimed territory lost to Daesh in 2014, and have been working to sustain the gains made so far against them.
“The Iraqi Government, which initially requested the training, continues to rate the quality of what we’re delivering very highly,” he said.
Task Group Taji is comprised of 106 New Zealand soldiers and around 300 Australian Defence Force personnel. Its programme of instruction is based on individual soldier skills, including weapons handling, and marksmanship at close quarters and longer ranges.
The training includes combat first aid and obstacle breaching techniques as well as counter-Improvised Explosive Device and Explosive Hazard Awareness training. All Iraqi Security Forces are also taught the fundamentals of international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.
“Many of the trainees have recent combat experience against Daesh so the programme has been developed to match trainee skills and experience in consultation with the Iraqi commanders. It may include tactics and techniques for squad through to company-level operations, mapreading and team leadership,” the SNO said.
“The Iraqi Army soldiers understand the training is designed to help them survive and win on the battlefield. They appreciate our being here and the help we are giving them to defeat Daesh.”