New Zealand announces withdrawal of its troops from Iraq

New Zealand has announced that it would withdraw its troops from Iraq by June next year to conclude its mission, which contributed to the training of the Iraqi army forces against Daesh and reducing the number of soldiers in Afghanistan.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardenne said on Monday that her country would withdraw its forces from Iraq by June next year to conclude its mission, which helped in training the Iraqi army in confrontation of Daesh, Sky News reported.

"Over the next 12 months, New Zealand will decline its troops' numbers and then end this commitment," New Zealand's prime minister said at a news conference to announce the decision.

The prime minister of New Zealand will also decline its soldiers in a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan from 13 to 11, but the troops will remain there until December 2020 to support the training of Afghan army officers.

"The number of troops will be reduced to 75 soldiers at the latest from July to reach 45 in January, before completing the mission in June 2020," said Jacinda Ardirne.

New Zealand, which has about 95 troops in Iraq, deployed in 2015 as part of a joint training mission with Australia to support a US-led multinational operation against Daesh.

The forces provide basic weapons skills training as well as medical and logistical support for Iraqi security forces inside al-Taji camp north of Baghdad.

The New Zealand government said in a statement that the number of members of the Iraqi security forces, who have been trained in this camp since 2015 exceeded 44,000.

New Zealand troops were due to be deployed in Iraq until the end of May 2017, but successive governments have decided to extend their mission. Last year, Jacinda extended the deployment of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan until June.

(T/S)

ANHA


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