ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish official on Wednesday said the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) was to supervise reforms and changes to the Ministry of Peshmerga.
“There are five reform packages ready to be implemented within the Ministry of Peshmerga,” Halgurd Hikmat, the spokesperson for the ministry told Kurdistan 24.
He explained there is a plan to create a new Peshmerga Ministry in the future which would have a completely new structure established under the supervision of NATO.
Hikmat stated that the new structure would be completely new to the Kurdistan Region, one entirely different from Iraq’s Defense Ministry structure as well. He, however, did not provide further details on the structure itself.
There are over 200,000 Peshmerga in the Kurdistan Region. Unifying the forces has been a key concern for the ministry over the past decade as most of Peshmerga are aligned and under the direct command either one of the two leading Kurdish parties: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The Peshmerga have, nevertheless, been labeled one of the most effective ground troops in helping defeat IS in Iraq and Syria, notably by former US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Following the sudden rise of the jihadist group in northern Iraq in mid-2014, the Iraqi army collapsed and left behind heavy weaponry which eventually fell into the hands of IS. Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were the ones to stop the advance of the militants and pushed them back, establishing the first lines of defense.
Some 2,000 Peshmerga were killed in the fight against IS, and over 12,000 more were wounded, according to the Ministry.
Editing by Nadia Riva