Kiwi-trained Iraqi troops on frontline against IS

New Zealand's troops in Iraq have helped put 1600 Iraqi soldiers on the frontline to fight Islamic State (IS).

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and his Australian counterpart Kevin Andrews met in Auckland today to discuss the deployment.

Since May, just over 100 New Zealand troops have been based at Camp Taji, alongside 300 Australians.

Many of the newly trained Iraqi soldiers have now been deployed to Anbar province - the frontline of the fight against IS, also known as Daesh.

"They have been engaged in operations against Daesh in various units, in various parts of the country," says Mr Andrews.

Earlier this week, Australia conducted its first bombing over Syria. It was a controversial move because airstrikes in Syria aren't supported by the United Nations, and New Zealand sits on the UN Security Council.

Mr Brownlee is in a tricky position by giving the bombings unofficial support.

"If it makes removing Daesh a little more straightforward for some of the recruits that are coming out of that training, then obviously it's useful," he says.

But Mr Andrews could be a dead minister walking.  In the fallout from Tony Abbott being rolled from the Prime Minister's job, Mr Andrews is likely to lose his defence position – or he could even be kicked out of Cabinet altogether.

"Look, when I'm a minister overseas, I will leave domestic political matters back in Australia if you don't mind," says Mr Andrews.

New Zealand has only been on the ground for just over four months and already 1600 troops have been trained by the joint force.

What isn't yet known is what has happened to them - how have they fared on the frontline against the IS.

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