ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the European Union on Monday launched a joint project to help Peshmerga fighters disabled in the fight against the so-called Islamic State start their own businesses, so they can continue to provide for themselves and their families.
During a press conference on Monday, Rebar Ahmed, the Kurdistan Region’s Interior Minister, extended his gratitude to the EU for funding the project. He also applauded the successful joint implementation of the plan by the Kurdistan Region’s Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) and the German Development Agency (GIZ).
“There is a total of 12,000 martyred and injured Peshmerga who fought the terrorist group, ISIS, and we hope these kinds of projects continue in the Kurdistan Region to help others who require assistance,” Ahmed told reporters.
The project is expected to help the families of 27 Peshmerga fighters who were heavily injured during the fight against the Islamic State.
Clarisse Pasztory, Head of the EU’s Liaison Office in Erbil, said she was delighted with the chance to give back to the brave Kurdish fighters who sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of the people in the Kurdistan Region and around the world.
“The family members of Peshmerga are heroes as well in the fight against ISIS,” she told Kurdistan 24. “That is why I am pleased that we were able to help 27 Peshmerga families, a total of 140 individuals, benefit from the project.”
The project offers the injured Peshmerga an opportunity to select a profession of their choice, so they can provide for themselves and their families and contribute to society as active citizens.
General Qaraman Sheikh Kamal, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Peshmerga Ministry, told Kurdistan 24 the program is called “Qudra” and will help the Peshmerga “get back on their feet and provide a livelihood for their families.”
The Peshmerga were one of the most efficient ground troops in defeating the Islamic State. When the extremist group emerged in 2014, and the Iraqi army collapsed, Peshmerga forces, with support from the US-led coalition, contained and pushed back the Islamic State threat in the north of the country.
About 2,000 Peshmerga have fallen while fighting the terror group, and over 10,000 more were wounded, according to the Peshmerga Ministry.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany