Iraqi troops trained by a combined New Zealand-Australian task group are helping deliver training in precision shooting, marking a significant step in the Iraqi Army’s efforts to develop a self-sustaining force.
16 October 2017
Iraqi troops trained by a combined New Zealand-Australian task group are now helping train others, marking a significant step in the Iraqi Army’s efforts to develop a self-sustaining force.
The New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Senior National Officer in Taji said Iraqi Army instructors took the lead in training members of the Iraqi Army’s 2nd Brigade during the Advanced Marksmanship Instructor Course conducted recently by Task Group Taji.
“This was the first time we had a significant Iraqi contribution in training delivery. So there is understandably a sense of pride not just on the part of the New Zealand and Australian trainers but also among the Iraqi instructors and their trainees,” the Senior National Officer said.
One of the instructors, Corporal Yassin Mubrad from the 3rd Battalion 2nd Brigade 1st Division of the Iraqi Army, said the training aimed to develop Iraqi forces into “efficient and effective snipers”.
“The training is important to help the soldiers refresh their marksmanship skills. A sniper wins half the battle if he is attentive and vigilant,” Corporal Yassin said.
The newly qualified marksmen would be sent to the front line to support the continuing offensive against retreating Islamic State (IS) militants, he said.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the involvement of Iraqi troops in training delivery was an achievement of the NZDF’s combined training mission with the Australian Defence Force.
“This is what the Building Partner Capacity mission is all about. For more than two years we’ve been training the Iraqi Security Forces so that they become better fighters and can defeat IS on their own,” Major General Gall said.
“Training their fellow Iraqis on marksmanship is a first step. Our aim is to continue helping enhance their capabilities so that they have well-trained fighters, as well as a pool of motivated and professional instructors who will shape and train members of a self-sustaining force.”
Since May 2015 the NZDF has been contributing to the international effort to help train and build the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces. More than 26,000 Iraqi troops have since been trained by Task Group Taji, which comprises about 100 NZDF soldiers and 300 Australian Defence Force personnel.
The training programme covers skills such as weapons handling, night combat and marksmanship at close quarters and longer ranges.
All Iraqi forces are also taught the fundamental aspects of international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.