The Australian Government is planning to cut the number of forces deployed in Iraq for the Task Group Taji training mission by half.
More than 100 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have departed for the 10th rotation of Task Group Taji in Iraq.
Task Group Taji, which became fully operational in May 2015, is a joint military training force involving personnel from Australia and New Zealand.
Located at the Taji Military Complex north-west of Baghdad, the task group supports an international effort to strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
During the latest rotation, the Iraqi School of Infantry will lead the majority of training.
The Australian and New Zealand combined force will perform mentoring duties for the Iraqi school.
Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “The ADF has made significant progress in enhancing the capabilities of the ISF to defeat Daesh.
“The ADF’s local partner, the Iraqi School of Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer II, is ready to deliver most of its training without the assistance of coalition partners.
“This progress means Australia is in a position to reduce our contribution from around 250 to 120 ADF personnel.”
The mission to build the capacity of the ISF is intended to equip Iraq with the capability to ‘take responsibility for its own security’.
Reynolds added: “Together with New Zealand, Australia has trained more than 45,000 members of the ISF who have played an important role in combatting Daesh in Iraq, and I was proud to see their work firsthand on my recent visit to Taji.”
The Australian Department of Defence stated that it will continue to support the international fight against the resurgence of the Islamic State. The country will work in coordination with coalition partners to ensure the terrorist group does not gather the resources required to start operations again.
In June, New Zealand revealed plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq in a phased manner. The government aims to achieve complete retreat of forces from Iraq by June 2020.