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March 9, 2017
SOME 1900 police from Iraq’s
Ninewah province gradu-
ated from training at the Taji
Military Complex on February
16, bringing the number of Iraqi
Security Forces (ISF) and law enforce-
ment personnel trained since May 2015
to more than 19,000.
Day after day, despite occasion-
al flurries of snow, the police train-
ees arrived at the range for instruction
in weapons handling and manoeuvre
Some have lost their entire fami-
lies to Daesh’s campaign of terrorism
almost all come from Mosul. They
have lived through the darkest days of
Daesh’s trail of destruction in the north
of their country.
“I used to be an English teacher,”
says Abbas, who is 25 years old. “I have
joined the police to defend my friends
from Daesh and protect my community
in Mosul. The Australians are training
Like the other young men on the
range, Abbas wears his new police uni-
form with pride – instinctively he brac-
es up and adjusts his beret when asked
about his training.
“The Australians are teach-
ing us urban skills to surround build-
ings and keep the civilians safe,” says
Abdalsalam, 22, also from Mosul.
“They teach us medical skills to help
our guys on the battlefield so if they are
injured we can keep them alive and get
them to a hospital.”
Many of the now more than 19,000
ISF members trained by Task Group
Taji have joined the fight in Mosul. For
the Ninewah police trainees, the focus is
on security and stabilisation operations
once the initial fight is over.
“The training we are doing here is
important,” says Capt Isabelle Cowley,
an artillery officer and training team
“We are giving the police skills so
they can move forward to stabilise, hold
and defend areas that have been liber-
ated from Daesh.
“We’ve trained them in skills such as
marksmanship, urban clearances, check-
point security and vehicle checkpoints.
“They are going to move into areas
that have already been recaptured by the
ISF to secure and hold those areas.”
As Abbas and Abdalsalam practise a
building clearance drill, their demeanour
is focused and determined.
Mutual respect between the police
trainees and their instructors from the
ADF and NZDF is also evident.
“The Australians taught me very
well,” Abdalsalam says.
“I will now be able to serve my
country and support my family and my
friends, to save them from Daesh.”
Commander Task Group Taji 4
Col Richard Vagg says the police gradu-
ates will undertake security and stabili-
sation tasks in and around Mosul, and in
“Hold forces such as the Ninewah
police are key in the ongoing clearance
of Mosul,” Col Vagg says.
“They will secure the now cleared
eastern side of the city, providing flank
protection to the Counter Terrorism
Service, Iraqi Army and Federal Police
as they clear the western side.”
At the request of the Iraqi and
US governments, the expansion of
Australia’s Building Partner Capacity
mission to include police was
announced by Prime Minister Malcolm
Turnbull in July 2016. It followed a
similar announcement by New Zealand
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee in
June last year.
As more areas continue to be liberat-
ed from Daesh, strong and effective hold
forces are a priority to maintain security
and support stabilisation operations.
“The police are determined to defend
their country against Daesh,” Col Vagg
Training includes laws of armed con-
flict, weapons handling, marksmanship,
explosive hazard awareness, combat first
aid, urban operations, obstacle breach-
ing techniques and combined arms
Now in its fourth rotation, Task
Group Taji is a combined force of about
300 ADF and 100 NZDF personnel.
Since May 2015, the task group has
contributed to the training of the fol-
lowing ISF units: 1 Div’s 3 and 4 Bdes,
9 Div’s 34 Bde, 15 Div’s 71 Bde,
16 Div’s 75, 76 and 92 Bdes, Northern
Baghdad Operations Command,
17 Security Bn and Ranger Bn.
Securing the future of Iraq
Australian and New Zealand trainers
continue to make a difference in Iraq,
Capt Sharon Mascall-Dare reports.
Cpl Jaye Griffin, of Task Group Taji 4, explains how to
judge distances to Ninewah police.
Photo: Cpl Kyle Genner
Cpl Joshua Cripps,
of Task Group Taji
4, assists Ninewah
police trainees during
a range practice.
Photo: Cpl Kyle Genner
Watch video of the graduation at
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