ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The German Defense Ministry on Wednesday announced that it would continue its training of Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan Region.
“The training of Peshmerga will continue just as it had been before. It will cover the areas of medicine and logistics,” Defense Ministry Spokesperson Frank Faehnrich said during a press briefing.
Earlier on Wednesday, the German government proposed that it would extend its mission as part of the US-led coalition in Iraq, but that there would be a decrease in troop size from 1,200 to 800.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet approved the extension of Berlin’s global military missions which includes Afghanistan and Mali as well.
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the Bundeswehr needs to “redirect its efforts in Iraq” to support the country’s reconstruction following the military defeat of the Islamic State (IS) in early December.
Regarding Germany’s support for the Peshmerga, von der Leyen said the training of the Kurdish forces had been “a great success,” adding she hopes the central government in Berlin agrees to expand its mission.
The Defense Minister hinted at a continued Bundeswehr presence in Erbil where it would “advise on building ministries and providing soldiers with medical supplies.”
German soldiers are also expected to teach Iraqi and Kurdish forces how to disable improvised explosive devices left behind by IS to ensure displaced civilians can return to their homes safely.
There are currently 150 German soldiers deployed in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil as part of the US-led coalition mission against IS.