Norway will have 110 soldiers from the Army and the Armed Forces Special Forces group in Iraq – throughout the year.
– “The mandate for our contribution in Iraq will end in March. We have announced to Parliament that we will extend this contribution for the rest of this year,” says Frank Bakke-Jensen, Minister of Defense, to NTB.
He says that although the terrorist group IS is territorially fought, they are not gone.
“It’s important for us to contribute the time to stabilize the situation,” he says,
The Norwegian military forces contribution will include a staff of about 110 people from both the Army and the Armed Forces Special forces group.
“We will continue with 50 soldiers from the Special Forces, 60 from the Army, and in addition, we will provide a surgical team of 20 medical personnel at their disposal for six months,” says Bakke-Jensen.
He says that they are looking into stepping down this year, but emphasizes that it’s the situation on the ground that will determine that.
“It is suggested that there may be a slowdown of the Norwegian force contribution during the year, depending on the coalition’s needs and changes in the security situation.”
According to Bakke-Jensen, the coalition is now in a transition phase, where international support is turning from warfare against IS to building the capacities of Iraqi forces.
– “Iraqi security forces have had an impressive development since 2014, but many departments still need training. In addition, there is a need to build new units,” said the Minister of Defense.
The Norwegian presence in Jordan for logistics and staff support for operations will be maintained. Norway will also continue with a limited number of staff officers in the coalition command structure.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today