24 Feb 2016

NZ marches on with Iraqi troop training

6:28 pm on 24 February 2016

The number of Iraqi Army soldiers trained by New Zealand and Australian troops has reached more than 4000.

Iraqi Army soldiers march during the graduation ceremony of the Iraqi Army's Non- Commissioned Officers' Academy Junior Leaders Course at Taji Military Complex, Iraq.

Iraqi soldiers march during the graduation ceremony of the Iraqi Army's Non-Commissioned Officers' Academy Junior Leaders Course at Taji Military Complex. Photo: SUPPLIED / NZDF

Commander Joint Forces Major General Tim Gall said the latest group of about 250 officers just completed their training in Taji, in northern Iraq.

Having more than 4000 Iraqis trained is an important milestone, Major General Gall said.

"Building the capability of the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] to a level necessary to secure the defeat of ISIL [Islamic State] will take time," he said in a statement.

"What is encouraging is that the Iraqis are regaining their confidence and have begun to demonstrate, like in Ramadi, the capability and determination they need to mount a successful counter-offensive."

New Zealand has more than 100 soldiers deployed in Iraq on the training mission.

Despite a request from the United States, the government has ruled out sending in special forces as well.

The next group of Iraqi trainees will start the course in March.

The training includes weapons handling, combat first aid, live fire training, and aspects of international human rights and armed conflict law.

Iraqi Army soldiers fire a volley of blank rounds to begin the graduation ceremony of the Iraqi Army's Non-Commissioned Officers' Academy Junior Leaders Course at Taji Military Complex, Iraq.

Iraqi soldiers fire a volley of blank rounds to begin the graduation ceremony. Photo: SUPPLIED / NZDF

Iraqi Army soldiers march during the graduation ceremony of the Iraqi Army's Non- Commissioned Officers' Academy Junior Leaders Course at Taji Military Complex, Iraq.

The soldiers march during the graduation ceremony. Photo: SUPPLIED / NZDF

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