APPG member Jack Lopresti MP, who has been our Chair and has joined several delegations to the Kurdistan Region, has tabled a written question asking the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Peshmerga programme.
The Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, who visited Kurdistan in December, replied as follows “The support to Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) Security Sector Reform (SSR) has been very important. Indeed, when visiting the KRG myself in December 2020 I was able to see how it contributes to our overarching support to the Iraqi state towards the enduring defeat of Daesh. So far, the UK has trained over 120,000 Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Security Forces in Infantry skills, counter-IED, engineering, and medical expertise. As a result, their capabilities have increased considerably, and they are able to contribute to the success of the counter-Daesh campaign.”
My comment. The Peshmerga have proved to be vital to defending Kurdistan from attack several times in recent years and often against the odds. They need help to modernise themselves and to become a single unified force under the KRG. The assistance of the UK, US, and German forces is very valuable. We have seen for ourselves the work of British service personnel in Erbil. It is a brilliant example of how the UK can help build a strong Kurdistan in a unified Iraq. Gary Kent
The photo shows Jack Lopresti MP and our Chair, Robert Halfon MP outside the British base in Kurdistan.