105 New Zealand soldiers return from Iraq

Image provided by New Zealand Defence Force

105 New Zealand soldiers who returned from a six month deployment to Iraq last night say they are happy to be home and see their families.

The New Zealand soldiers assisted in training over 2000 Iraqi Security Force personnel as part of a combined project with Australia and the New Zealand Defence Force which they have called the Building Partner Capacity mission.

The training provided covered weapons handling, combat first aid, live fire training and drills in complex warfighting environments. Iraqi soldiers were also taught the fundamental aspects of international humanitarian law and the Law of Armed Conflict.

Addressing the soldiers on their arrival the Chief of Army, Major General Pete Kelly said “The training results you have achieved with the Iraqi Army have exceeded all expectations. Thousands more Iraqi troops are now on the front line with renewed confidence and skills.”

The Senior National Officer of the NZDF’s first rotation to Iraq said the contingent felt “honoured to represent our country and contribute to the international effort to build the Iraqi Security Forces’ capacity and empower them in their fight against Daesh”.

“It has been very rewarding. The Iraqis are eager to learn and they are determined to fight for their country. We are grateful for the opportunity to teach them the skills that will help keep them alive when they go to the frontlines in the war against Daesh,” he said.