Fresh New Zealand troops leave to train Iraqi forces

Wellington, May 11 (IANS) The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) on Wednesday said a fresh batch of troops to help train Iraqi soldiers has left for the war-torn country.

Major General Tim Gall, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the training provided by the combined New Zealand-Australian military training force had a real impact in improving the effectiveness of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Xinhua news agency reported.

“On a number of occasions, the Iraqi government has recognised that the quality training we are providing has helped restore the confidence of their officers and soldiers, and has contributed to some of the positive outcomes on the battlefield,” Gall said.

About 100 New Zealand troops left from Adelaide after about three weeks of joint readiness training with their Australian counterparts.

They would join Task Group Taji, comprised of around 100 NZDF soldiers and 300 Australian Defence Force personnel, at a base north of Baghdad.

Task Group Taji has so far trained more than 5,000 Iraqi soldiers as part of an international effort to combat Islamic State (IS) militants by helping to train the ISF.

–IANS

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