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Peshmerga Training Effort Moves Into High Gear

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, December 18, 2015 — Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are rotating through coalition training in northern Iraq at the rate of 800 personnel every 25 days, enabling them to continue their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with minimal interruption, the commander of the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, German army Col. Bernd Prill described the type of instruction the Peshmerga receive at the training center.

Located in northern Iraq, the center is staffed by seven coalition countries -- Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, Finland, the Netherlands and Hungary -- and works with Peshmerga units to improve their capabilities, Prill said.

The troops receive basic infantry training, including individual combat skills, squad tactics, and company maneuvers, Prill explained. The training also includes counter-improvised explosive device training, sniper training and combat life-saving medic courses. “We train them on offense and defensive operations … in rural areas and urban areas,” the colonel said.

The center also holds special courses for Peshmerga officers, he said, up to the battalion level.

Overall, the center has trained some 8,000 Peshmerga fighters, who've then returned to the 1,200-kilometer front line to fight ISIL.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)