US, Europeans suspend military training in Iraq including Kurdistan Region

Including Germany and Netherlands
A German military expert (L) speaks with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters during training at a shooting range on 2 October 2014, in Erbil, Kurdistan Region (AFP)

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SULAIMANI — Secretary-General of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs Jabar Yawar said on Wednesday (May 15) the United States and Germany have suspended military training in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

Yawar told NRT Digital Media that the suspension is related to tension between the United States and Iran and that it is temporary.

“Both countries have withdrawn their personnel to [the compounds of] their bases, embassies, and consulates,” he added.

A spokesman for the Germany Defense Ministry confirmed the move on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Germany has no indications of its own of attacks supported by Iran, he said. He added that training programmes could resume in the coming days.

Focus Online said the decision had been taken in coordination with partner countries fighting Islamic State in the region.

A spokesman for the German Defense Ministry said the German armed forces had 160 soldiers involved in the training deployment in Iraq.

Germany is keeping the number of staff at its embassy and consulate in Iraq constant for now, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday after Washington ordered the departure of non-emergency government employees from Iraq.

Washington took that step after repeated US expressions of concern about threats from Iranian-backed forces.

The German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the German embassy in Tehran was fully staffed and working.

Additionally, the Dutch government has suspended a mission in Iraq that provides assistance to local authorities due to a security threat, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Wednesday.

Dutch military personal help train Iraqi forces in Erbil along with other foreign troops.

The Netherlands Embassy in Iraq tweeted that it “is and will remain open.”

The move came after the US State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees in Erbil and Baghdad.

(NRT Digital Media/Reuters)

*Updated at 04:17 p.m. EBL time