ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Germany will continue to provide training and military support to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces following a brief halt due to clashes in Kirkuk, a German Defense Ministry official told Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday.
In an emailed statement, Major Anne Bressem, a spokesperson for the Bundeswehr Joint Forces Operations Command, provided details of Germany’s military support to Peshmerga forces in the Region.
Bressem noted the temporary suspension of training for the Kurdish forces following their clashes with Iraqi and Iranian-backed Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi in Kirkuk, but said regular support resumed on Sunday.
“The security of German soldiers in northern Iraq is of paramount importance,” she stated. “As the situation has calmed down, the Bundeswehr is continuing the training” of Peshmerga in Kurdistan.
Bressem mentioned the military support Germany had provided the Peshmerga since September 2014, including the delivery of “24,000 rifles, 8,000 pistols, 400 anti-tank RPGs, and 60 MILAN systems.”
The Bundeswehr spokesperson also provided details about the training provided to the Kurdish forces which “focuses on sustainability.”
“This means that the Bundeswehr is training the Peshmerga in a way [that] enables them to train themselves,” Bressem explained.
One of the training topics involves the tracking, defusing, and elimination of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), a tactic heavily used by the Islamic State (IS).
Bressem noted that German military instructors are involved in the preparation of Peshmerga forces as “mentors” during the sustainable training drills.
The main goal is to train Peshmerga on counter-IED and fire protection, which enables them “to lead and carry out training independently” and teach their fellow compatriots, she said.
“Further training contents are tactical training as well as the life-saving medical education,” Bressem concluded.
There are currently 150 German soldiers deployed in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil as part of the US-led coalition mission against IS.
Editing by Sam A.