Ron Mark: World will continue to assist Iraq despite troop withdrawals

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Monday, 10 June 2019, 6:43PM
Defence Minister Ron Mark at the range in Taji during a visit to NZ troops training local forces in Iraq. (Photo / NZDF)

The Defence Minister says it will be on the Iraq Government to rebuild as swiftly as possible to keep the spectre of ISIS at bay.

New Zealand troops will be withdrawn from Iraq after five years, it was announced today, with our training mission to end by June 2020.

Numbers at Camp Taj will drop from 95 to a maximum of 75 personnel from next month, 45 from January, and zero within a year.

Ron Mark says our role was to train Iraqi security forces so they could lead and train themselves and it's nearing an end.

"Our people have done a tremendous job training over 42,000 of them, and now it's about mentoring and training the trainers, and then alongside Australia, exiting."

Mark told Heather du Plessis-Allan the challenges ahead for Iraq include re-establishing communications, rebuilding infrastructure and homes, providing safety and security.

"They haven't been left entirely on their own, as it's not in the world's interests for that to be the case, and that is why NATO has assumed the lead on further operations there."


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