Dutch government to provide more financial support to Peshmerga, train Kurdish female fighters


Dutch military experts training Kurdish Peshmerga special forces in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

HASAKAH – The Dutch government will pay 1 million Euros to an American support program for Peshmerga’s which will be used to buy ammunition for the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to assist them in the fight against the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS). Moreover, the Dutch will provide the Peshmerga forces with counter-IED support, and is looking for more ways to train more female Peshmerga fighters.

In November last year, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said they would provide the Iraqi Kurds with weapons and ammunition to fight ISIS.

But after research, the Dutch government said in February this year they did not have ammunition and weapons to provide, and would look for other ways to support the Peshmerga forces.

“On basis of this research it was decided that the Netherlands will join an American support program for the Peshmerga,” the government said.

The Dutch government is also investigating how to give more training to female Peshmerga forces that are being trained on basic infantry skills, IEDs, and medical care. The Female Peshmerga forces will use their new skills on the frontlines with ISIS, and will be deployed at checkpoints and will secure supply routes.

In May, Dutch and Finish soldiers trained female officers of the Peshmerga forces, and according to the Dutch government this training was a success. “Several women already had frontline experience, and saw an added value in the training,” the government said in response to questions from Dutch MPs.

“The coalition in cooperation with the Ministry of Peshmerga are looking for possibilities for future training of female Peshmerga fighters,” the Dutch government said.

The Netherlands supports the Kurds with helmets, vests and equipment to detect IEDs. Also, Dutch Mobile Support Teams are backing the Peshmerga forces on the frontline with training.

“The Deployment of the Dutch Mobile Support Teams (MST) is progressing well, and is greatly appreciated by the Coalition and Peshmerga forces,” the Dutch government said. “The added value of the MST is that they can train units on short distance of the frontline, and as a result they [Peshmergas] do not have to travel far for training.”

The MST teams are training Peshmerga forces near the frontlines for short periods of several days or weeks.

The war against the Islamic State has costed the Dutch government more than 119 million euros since 2014.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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