ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Chancellor Masrour Barzani and US Brigadier General Austin Renforth of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve met on Monday to discuss improvements and further training for Peshmerga Forces.
According to a statement on the KRSC’s website, the two “reviewed reforms and continued training for Peshmerga Forces.”
Kurdistan 24 spoke with Renforth in December on the sidelines of a ceremony at Coalition Headquarters in Erbil International Airport where the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center (KTCC) saw a change of command.
He that the Coalition trains the Peshmerga on “a variety of missions, mostly wide-area security missions.”
Renforth also stressed that it is “important to have a well-trained Peshmerga Force for the security of all of this region,” emphasizing the world, “all.”
The KTCC was established in 2014, as the US entered the battle against the Islamic State, mobilizing a large coalition against the terrorist organization. Since then, the KTCC has trained over 13,000 Peshmerga.
In their meeting, Barzani and Renforth also “discussed mechanisms to increase coordination between Peshmerga Forces and Iraqi Security Forces in the disputed territories” between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq.
“Both agreed that stabilizing the areas can provide renewed trust and space necessary to advance the road-map outlined in the Iraqi Constitution,” the statement added.
When the so-called Islamic State emerged in Iraq in mid-2014, Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga collaborated to fight the extremist group and regain significant ground.
However, following the Kurdistan Region’s historic September 2017 independence referendum, tensions between the KRG and Iraqi government increased. Despite an overwhelming majority favoring independence, Baghdad rejected the results and responded with punitive measures, including the use of military force in disputed areas, namely Kirkuk province.
Since then, both the Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces have been working to mend ties and increase cooperation.
Editing by Laurie Mylroie