Iraq Army Officials announced that the army would aim to recruit and train a further 20,000 soldiers during 2007. 25 battalions and two division headquarters would be created with the help of the US military.

“Our goal is to reduce the dependence and increase the self-reliance,” US Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, said. “That’s why we’re here.”

It is hoped that the expansion will allow troops to fight the Sunni insurgency. The additional troops will also allow unit rotation for rest, re-equipping and retraining.