MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Government – Iraq thanks NZ for training contribution
Senior Iraqi officials have conveyed thanks to Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee for New Zealand’s deployment of military personnel to help build the capacity of the Iraqi security forces.
Mr Brownlee has just left Iraq after visiting New Zealand personnel on the Building Partner Capacity mission in Taji.
“Our soldiers are in very high spirits,” Mr Brownlee says.
“They are highly professional and strongly committed to their mission, which is to provide training.
“Early indications are Iraqi trainees are responding and relating well to our trainers,” Mr Brownlee says.
During his visit Mr Brownlee also met Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obedih in Baghdad.
“Iraqi government and military commanders recognise our contribution to the Building Partner Capacity mission,” Mr Brownlee says.
“As in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and other deployments, NZDF personnel are making a difference through the quality military training they are providing Iraqi security forces at Taji.”
Mr Brownlee was accompanied on his visit to Iraq by Major General Tim Gall, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand and Ambassador – Designate James Munro.
The Government has deployed up to 143 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to train Iraqi security forces so they can better counter the threat posed by ISIL [D’aesh]. The two-year deployment, with a review after nine months, supports the international coalition against D’aesh.
“New Zealanders can be very proud of the work our troops are doing to professionalise the Iraqi security forces,” Mr Brownlee says.
Details of the Minister’s trip were not released prior to his departure for reasons of operational security and safety.