Iraq NZDF training making 'a real difference'

  • 21/10/2015
Prime Minister John Key (file)
Prime Minister John Key (file)

Iraqi forces trained by New Zealand and Australia troops return to the front line equipped with much better skills to fight Islamic State, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key, who earlier this month visited New Zealand troops at Taji Camp near Baghdad, says they're making "a real difference" to the forces they're training.

"They're undertaking a pretty short course, four to six weeks," he told reporters today.

"These are people who have been on the front line, and they're going out with much better skills."

Australia's Defence Force chief Mark Binskin also says the Iraqi troops who have been through the course are performing well on the front line.

"Their performance on operations ... is above that of the other Iraqi security forces that haven't been through it," the air chief marshal told a Senate hearing today.

He says Australian special forces have so far qualified more than 800 counter-terrorism service personnel in advanced skills, while the team working with New Zealand has trained more than 2100 regular Iraqi soldiers.