NZ-trained Iraqi troops in Ramadi victory - Brownlee

  • 31/12/2015
New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) training Iraqi troops in Taji (Supplied/NZDF)
New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) training Iraqi troops in Taji (Supplied/NZDF)

Iraqi troops trained by New Zealand soldiers were among those who took the city of Ramadi from Islamic State, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

Victory in Ramadi, which was seized by IS in May, is the first major triumph for Iraq's mainly US-trained army since it collapsed in the face of an assault by the hardline Sunni militants 18 months ago.

The city, 130km west of Baghdad, was taken earlier this week.

"The success of these troops results from their commitment to the training programme they have been involved in. New Zealand and Australian trainers can take some pride over the successful action by the recruits," Mr Brownlee said on Thursday.

"New Zealanders can be very proud of the work our troops are doing to professionalise the Iraqi security forces."

Since May about 140 New Zealand troops have been based at Taji Camp, north of Baghdad, training locals for the fight against Islamic State, part of international efforts to combat the terrorist group.

The two-year deployment will be reviewed after nine months.

Prime Minister John Key, who visited the New Zealand camp in October, has said the training is making a real difference to Iraqi troops.

NZN