In the fight against the Islamic State terrorists, the German army was providing training and arms for the Peshmerga, the Kurdish people from Iraq who have been invaluable allies in the Global War on Terror. That mission was halted for a week, however, due to the conflict behind the Iraqi Kurds and the Baghdad government
The German army has restarted a training mission in Iraqi Kurdistan after a week’s pause. But the mission’s continuation is in doubt due to the conflict between the autonomous Kurdish region and Iraq. But for how long will the Germans train the peshmerga?
Germany’s army will continue to ensure that German-supplied weapons will only be used in the fight against the militant “Islamic State” (IS) group in Iraq, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday.
The Bundeswehr has been training and supplying weapons to the peshmerga for three years to help the Iraqi Kurds beat back IS militants. Peshmerga forces have assured the German government that the weapons supplied were only being used against IS.
“We do not have any reason to doubt that these agreements are being violated on a large scale,” the ministry spokesman said in Berlin. He added that it wasn’t possible in conflict areas to track the whereabouts of each weapon.
The German army has provided some 32,000 assault rifles and machine guns, as well as the MILAN anti-tank missile, valued at some €90 million ($106 million) since September 2014. Some 150 Bundeswehr troops are in northern Iraq, and peshmerga units have also received training in Germany.
But the training mission was suspended for a week after the central government in Baghdad, backed by Iranian-trained paramilitary groups, moved to reassert control over disputed territories the Kurds have captured since June 2014.
Iraq government spokesman claimed that peshmerga forces used Milan anti-tank missiles during the clash in Kirkuk. The Germans wouldn’t confirm or deny the claim. The current training mission is due to be completed in January 2018. At that time the Germans will have to decide whether or not to continue the mission or withdraw.
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Photo courtesy Bundeswehr