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The Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Minister for Defence
22 May 2015
Australian and New Zealand military forces have commenced training Iraqi Army forces as part of the international Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission in Iraq.
Troops from the Iraqi Army’s 76th Brigade, a formation within the Iraqi 16th Division, are now receiving instruction in a diverse range of military skills including, advanced weapon handling, laws of armed conflict and complex obstacle breaching techniques.
The combined training force, known as Task Group Taji, consists of around 300 Australian soldiers and 110 New Zealand soldiers.
The aim of the Australian and New Zealand mission is to help the Iraqi Government to prepare sufficient forces to lead the counter-attack against Daesh in an effort to regain control of its territory.
Recent events in Australia, Canada, France and around the world demonstrate the global nature of terrorism and highlight the need to continue to develop the capability of the Iraqi Security Forces.
The threat posed by ISIL or Daesh, is reaching out to Australians, as the terrorist incidents here late last year demonstrated. We cannot allow violent extremism to spread to our shores. Nor can we afford to let it spread further within our region.
The deployment of the ADF to Iraq reflects one part of the Government’s steadfast commitment to keeping Australians safe from terrorism and preventing the spread of violent extremism.
Relationships with the Iraqi Army training force have already started positively with the Commander of the 76th Brigade requesting additional training from the Australian-New Zealand training team.
The 76th Brigade's capability will be further enhanced with an extensive consignment of military-essential equipment to be delivered in the coming weeks.
Task Group Taji is stationed at the Taji Military Complex northwest of Baghdad and has a two-year mission where ADF personnel will work to build the capacity of units of the regular Iraqi Army.
A further 20 ADF personnel will serve within coalition headquarters in Iraq.
The commencement of Task Group Taji’s BPC mission represents the next phase of Australia’s contribution to the international coalition effort to assist the Iraqi Government to disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh.
Australia joins a number of other international partners already contributing to training Iraqi forces including Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In addition to Task Group Taji’s BPC mission, Australia’s Air Task Group continues its air operations in Iraq. Australia's Special Operation Task Group, which is contributing to the Advise and Assist mission, will be reduced later this year.
A video compile will be fed to the Press Gallery at Parliament House at approximately 11am on 22 May 2015.
Imagery will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20151396
Video will be available at: http://video.defence.gov.au/
Chloe Petch (Minister Andrews’ Office) 0477 395 356
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999
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