ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Peshmerga has issued a decree banning political activities in associated offices as part of reform efforts to unify the force.
The Peshmerga are the official armed forces of the Kurdistan Region and played a key role in the fight against the so-called Islamic State when it overran a third of Iraq in 2014. About 2,000 Peshmerga were killed during the anti-ISIS campaign and 12,000 were wounded, according to the Peshmerga Ministry.
Since 2014, advisors with the US-led coalition have been training thousands of Peshmerga fighters.
There are about 240,000 Peshmerga in the Kurdistan Region. The ministry has been engaged in a reform project prepared by the international coalition against the Islamic State to unify the Kurdish forces and better equip them to defend the region.
Although the Peshmerga Ministry has established units free of political affiliation, many are still aligned with and under the direct command of either one of the two leading Kurdish parties: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
In the latest progress, a document signed on November 5 by Peshmerga Minister Shorsh Ismail banned, in four points, political-related activities in Peshmerga ministry departments and offices.
The decree bans performing political activity, promotions, and disciplining and deducting party membership fees from formerly-affiliated Peshmerga members.
It warned violators of these points' legal procedures and that action would be taken against contraveners.
Editing by Nadia Riva