Militaries suspend training of Iraqi forces after US strike

By Carsten Hoffmann and Lennart Simonsson,

dpa : Berlin (dpa) – Members of the coalition fighting the Islamic State are suspending the training of Iraqi security forces as fears of a new conflict rise following the US drone strike on a top Iranian commander.

The US-led international coalition combatting Islamic State made the decision, the German deployment command told ombudsmen on the defence committee in the lower house of parliament in Berlin on Friday.

Denmark, Norway and Sweden followed with statements on Saturday, saying that their forces are suspending the training operations that are intended to boost the long-term capacity of Iraqi troops to counter Islamic State militants.

The German military said the decision was a precautionary measure to protect deployed soldiers and applies to all partner nations with training missions in Iraq under Operation Inherent Resolve.

Soleimani was killed along with with the deputy head of Iraq’s powerful Shiite Hashd Shaabi militia, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, in a move that sharply escalated tensions across the Middle East.

Germany has deployed 27 troops in a training capacity to Camp Taji, some 30 kilometres north of Baghdad.

The total German contingent for the international deployment against Islamic State currently numbers 415 men and women and is currently being commanded from Jordan, where many of them are stationed.

Norway has deployed about 70 troops in the Anbar province, near the Syrian border, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve’s training missions.

Denmark’s roughly 130-strong force is stationed at the Al Asad Air Base, west of Baghdad. There are also about 10 Danish soldiers and officers in Baghdad with the NATO Mission Iraq.

Sweden has about 70 soldiers in northern Iraq.

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