Defence Minister Mark Mitchell says New Zealanders can be proud of the achievements of the Defence Force in the fight against Isis.

The fifth rotation of Task Group Taji, the combined New Zealand-Australia training force based in Iraq’s Camp Taji, is on the way to Iraq, and Mr Mitchell says the record shows that New Zealanders can have confidence in the professionalism of Kiwi soldiers and the work they do abroad.

Since their training mission began in May 2015, the task group has trained more than 22,000 Iraqi personnel.

“This is critically important work. By training and partnering with the Iraqi forces, our soldiers have helped turn the tide against Isis,” Mr Mitchell says.

“The professional training delivered by the combined New Zealand-Australia training force has built the capability of the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against Isis. It has created a growing pool of capable fighters who are helping the Iraqi military sustain their campaign against this terrorist group.

“The rotation about to take over in Taji will build on the successes of the New Zealanders and Australians on the mission in the past two years, and make a real contribution to ongoing local security and stability.

“We’re a highly regarded part of the Coalition to defeat ISIS, and I’m certain this latest rotation will build on that reputation.”

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