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EDF training team in Iraq to return to Estonia

Personnel involved in Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.
Personnel involved in Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. Source: inherentresolve.mil

An Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) training team serving in Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve has returned to Estonia in the wake of both a tense security situation there and the coronavirus pandemic, prompted also by the Iraqi government's deprioritizing of training its units. The team had been due to remain in Iraq through to August.

Iraq's government has proposed postponing training efforts to date for Iraqi units indefinitely, the EDF General Staff said.

As a result, the six-member training team, which had served in Iraq as part of the Danish contingent, will now be returning to Estonia, ERR's online news in Estonian reports. The Danish contingent itself is also withdrawing from the operation, based at the Al-Asad Air Force base, and will concentrate on other tasks.

In order to contribute to the fight against terrorism and to help build up Iraqi security forces, Estonia aims to continue the operation and its contribution, and is working on ways to do so effectively. 

A senior Estonian officer currently serving at operation headquarters in Kuwait is to continue in his post.

The security situation in Iraq remains fragile, with missile attacks against bases hosting international units continuing. The most recent of these attacks took place on the Baghdad Green Zone on March 17, and the day before that on the Basmaya Base near Baghdad.

Two U.S. and one British soldier were also killed in last week's attack on the Taji base in northern Iraq. Although the responsibility for the attacks has not been clearly stated, experts presume that Iranian-backed groups are behind them.

The EDFis participating in the U.S.-led international Operation Inherent Resolve via, until now, its six-member training team plus one senior officer with an international military-strategic team, advising Iraqi ministries and security forces.

Operation Inherent Resolve is primarily aimed at providing direct and supporting military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)/Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), designated a terrorist organization by the UN.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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