Sweden will continue support for Peshmerga forces in Kurdistan: Defense Minister
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Sweden’s Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist on Wednesday said his country would continue supporting Kurdish Peshmerga forces as part of the US-led coalition’s mission against the Islamic State (IS).
“We have a training [mission] in Iraq—in Erbil,” Hultqvist told Kurdistan 24. “We have worked there together with Peshmerga for a long time.”
He said Sweden’s Defense Ministry had provided different training on “military strategy and also medical aid.”
“We have a good experience of that, and we think it’s very important for Sweden to be a partner in the coalition against Da’esh,” Hultqvist said, using the Arabic pejorative for IS.
The Defense Minister also revealed that Sweden had upgraded the number of its troops from 35 soldiers to 70 soldiers.
Since the start of the war against IS extremists, Swedish military advisers stationed in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil have been training the Kurdish forces.
Other members of the Coalition have expressed their continued support to the Peshmerga.
In a Friday interview with Kurdistan 24, Brig. Gen. Brian Eifler, Deputy Commanding General for Erbil (DCG-E), reemphasized that “there is no change in [our] support to the mission” in Kurdistan.
“That’s the bottom line for the Kurdish people,” he affirmed. “We’re here to help.”
Meanwhile, the US-led coalition on Wednesday announced the completion of a one-month training program for Peshmerga forces to become instructors on counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
“Fifty-one Kurdish security force members are now qualified to train [their colleagues] after completing the advanced instructor course led by Coalition partners from Germany, Italy, and Britain,” a statement by the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve read.
(Kurdistan 24 team in Washington DC conducted the interview)