On Wednesday (11 January) the Cabinet paved the way for an extension of the Bundeswehr training mission in northern Iraq. In the context of this mission, up to 150 German soldiers are currently helping to train the Kurdish Peshmerga in their fight against the IS terror militia.
The support for the northern Iraqi Peshmerga fighters is to be extended. This decision was taken by the Federal Government on Wednesday (11 January) at the instigation of Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Under this proposal, up to 150 German soldiers are to continue to train Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi armed forces. The extension of the mission mandate still has to be approved by the Bundestag.
Important contribution to supporting Iraq in the fight against IS
The Bundeswehr’s training support in northern Iraq in cooperation with international partners is an important contribution to the fight against IS. Since the start of the multinational programme, approximately 12,000 soldiers have already received training in northern Iraq and Germany, including members of national minorities. Members of the Iraqi armed forces have also been trained in Germany.
IS increasingly on the defensive
Particularly in northern Iraq, Kurdish and Iraqi forces, with the support of the international coalition, have succeeded in putting IS on the defensive and considerably weakening it. Since international efforts began, it has been possible overall to halt the advance of the terrorist organisation. IS has been driven back to a few core areas.
Germany’s engagement in training support, in coordination with international partners, plays a significant role in these efforts.
Partners in northern Iraq still need support
Although military support for the Peshmerga in their fight against IS is having an impact, the conflict is not yet over.
Through the extension of the mandate, the Bundeswehr is therefore to continue its involvement in training the Peshmerga. German forces will continue to be deployed in the Kurdistan‑Iraq region.
Multi‑faceted German engagement
At the end of August 2014, the German Government responded to a request from the Iraqi side and Kurdish-Iraqi forces and gave its approval for support for the Peshmerga fighters. Germany is providing support within the framework of the international alliance against terror, which comprises more than 60 states. In addition, Germany has been continuously providing humanitarian aid for people in need and is working to help stabilise Iraq.