With over 2100 Iraqi Army soldiers and officers trained by Australian and New Zealand forces in Iraq the combined Task Group prepares to train another 2000 soldiers.

The 1st Battalion, 71st Iraqi Army Brigade, who completed approximately two weeks of training in June, returned with the remainder of the 71st Iraqi Army Brigade in late September to commence training.

Commanding Officer of the Training Task Unit, Lieutenant Colonel Ash Collingburn said that the trainers are looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. “Training this brigade represents a significant contribution to combat Daesh,” he said.

“Overall, the progress made in a short period of time has been pleasing and enabled by the trust we have quickly built with our Iraqi counterparts.

“They have looked towards us to instill confidence in themselves, their tactics and their equipment.”

The 71st Iraqi Army Brigade currently consists of approximately 800 Iraqi Army soldiers and is expected to receive reinforcements in the coming weeks.

“The training package will be similar to what we have previously delivered, although we are anticipating being able to achieve a higher standard of training because of the experience already held within the Brigade,” Lieutenant Colonel Collingburn said.

Training support has also continued with the Iraqi Army Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy following a further request from the Iraqi Security Forces.

“We are also pleased to continue our relationship with the Iraqi NCO Academy which commenced a new course in early October,” Lieutenant Colonel Collingburn said.

“This course will train another 240 squad leaders drawn from across five Divisions of the Iraqi Army.

“On return to their Battalions, these NCOs will pass on their experience and the knowledge gained from the course on their fellow soldiers, ultimately contributing to the fight against Daesh.”

Further training will be provided to other Iraqi Army Battalions in the near future in accordance with the Iraqi Ministry of Defence priorities and concurrent operations against Daesh (ISIL).