A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stands next to a member of Iraqi PMF at a security checkpoint in Tuz Khurmatu in northern Iraq. Photo: Pierre-yves Baillet /ARA News
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ERBIL – The Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said they have provided enough support to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, after criticism of one of the Kurdish security heads that the Peshmerga needs more support in its war against the Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Iraq.
Masrour Barzani, the Chanchellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, said on Thursday: “Our Peshmerga forces are equipped to hold the front lines, but not enough to outgun the enemy.”
“I think we’ve been provided a significant amount of material and support to the Peshmerga forces through the government of Iraq, which is the appropriate way for this to be handled,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Friday, in response to Barzani’s comments.
“We’re not the only ones; there are other international partners who have provided that kind of — provided support to the Peshmerga forces,” Cook said.
“We’ll continue our conversations, of course, with the Peshmerga leaders, with the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] about what their needs might be, but I think the United States and the Department of Defense have certainly provided a significant amount of material, and we’re prepared to engage with them if there are additional needs in the future, but just as one example,” he added.
According to the Pentagon spokesperson chief Cook, the US has also provided financial support to help the Peshmergas.
“We recently announced — the secretary recently announced $450 million to help pay for Peshmerga forces to make sure these very effective and capable fighters, who are putting a lot on the line in the fight against ISIL [ISIS] will continue to be paid, and that’s a significant amount of money, and we think an appropriate step we can take to try and aid these very effective forces in the fight against ISIL who are trying to defend themselves and defend their homes,” he said.
Nevertheless, he did not reject the possibility of additional support. “We’ll continue to have conversations with the Peshmerga, with the KRG about what additional resources they might need,” Cook added.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News