Source: New Zealand Government
Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today.
“New Zealand is very pleased to have fulfilled its commitment to the Iraqi Government and the Defeat-ISIS Coalition to train Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) at Taji. Significant progress has been made in containing the threat from ISIS, and to ensure that the ISF are well placed to take over this commitment,” said Mr Peters.
“Since December we have had 45 personnel in Taji. All of those 45 personnel have now left the Taji military base and are either back in New Zealand or returning to New Zealand. 28 personnel arrived back in New Zealand last week and are in isolation at the Royal New Zealand Air Force base in Auckland. The remainder will be returning later this week,” said Mr Mark.
“Alongside their Australian counterparts, New Zealand troops have been delivering training to the ISF at Taji since 2015. They have worked hard to ensure that the ISF has the capability to prevent the resurgence of ISIS in the area. Over 47,000 ISF personnel have been trained at Taji since the inception of the BPC mission,” said Mr Mark.
New Zealand’s military involvement in Iraq since 2015 has been part of our broader contribution to the Defeat-ISIS Coalition. The Government has decided to maintain an ongoing military contribution to this Coalition.
“This decision recognises the enduring threat that a resurgent ISIS poses to global security, including towards New Zealand and New Zealanders abroad. Now more than ever New Zealand needs to be working with our partners in order to help keep our people safe,” said Mr Peters.
“New Zealand currently deploys four NZDF personnel to Coalition Headquarters in Iraq and Kuwait, and five operational support roles based in Qatar. The mandate for these roles has been extended until June 2022,” said Mr Mark.