New Zealand Withdraws Troops from Iraq and Cuts them in Afghanistan

Hülya Karahan

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardenne said on Monday that her country would withdraw its troops from Iraq by June next year to conclude a mission that helped train the Iraqi army to counter a hasty organization.

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

“Over the next 12 months, New Zealand will cut and then end this commitment,” Ardenne told a news conference to announce the decision.

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The number of troops will be reduced to 75 soldiers at most from July to reach 45 in January, before the end of the mission in June 2020.

The forces provide basic weapons skills training as well as medical and logistical support for Iraqi security forces inside 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 thousand.thdraws Troops from Iraq and Cut

New Zealand troops were due to deploy in Iraq until the end of May 2017, but successive governments have decided to extend their mission. Ardenne last year extended troop deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan until June.

New Zealand will cut its personnel on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan from 13 to 11, but troops will remain there until December 2020 to support the training of Afghan army officers, Ardenne said.