SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 5, 2017 —
The High Level Committee of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve met today in Baghdad to discuss the way forward for the coalition’s continued support of the Iraqi security forces.
The committee’s chairman, Staff Lt. Gen. Waad Zainl Saleh, senior secretary to the Iraqi chief of defense, and Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney of the British army, the coalition’s deputy commander for strategy and support, led the discussions.
The meeting prepared for the future transition of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, from Iraq’s liberation to a consolidation of the hard-fought gains, coalition officials said in a statement.
Committee members discussed the sacrifices of many Iraqis from all parts of the Iraqi security forces who have been lost in battle during the campaign to liberate ISIS-controlled areas of Iraq, officials said, and they also recognized the heavy toll that the people of Iraq have paid due to ISIS’ campaign of terror.
Emphasizing Coalition’s Commitment
Together with Canadian Brig. Gen. Steven Whelan, the task force’s director of training and equipping, Gedney emphasized the coalition’s commitment to work hand in hand with the Iraqi government into the future, the statement said.
“During the past three years, the coalition of 70 nations and four partner organizations has been committed to building the [Iraqi security forces’ capabilities to achieve the military defeat of [ISIS’] so-called caliphate, liberating more than 4.5 million Iraqis and over 52,200 square kilometers of territory,” Gedney said. “In the process, he added, the coalition has trained more than 123,000 members of the Iraqi security forces, including 25,000 police officers.
“We will continue to support our Iraqi partners in the battle against ISIS with training, equipment, advice and assistance,” Gedney said. “The next phase will focus on the provision of lasting security, while developing Iraqi sustainability and self-sufficiency.”