The German government on Wednesday decided to extend its military mandate in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region by an additional year, continuing its assistance in training and advising armed forces in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Germany has decided to keep their armed forces deployed in Iraq until October 31, 2024, the government said in a statement. “The Iraqi armed forces and security forces are to be sustainably enabled to ensure security and stability in the country independently and to prevent the terrorist organization of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) from regaining strength.”
The motion still requires the approval of the German Bundestag (parliament), and the additional operational expenses will amount to around €91.6 million (approx. $98.4 million), according to the statement.
Germany has been an essential member of the global coalition against ISIS. The Coalition was formally established in October 2014, after ISIS took control of vast swathes of territories in Iraq and Syria. Consisting of 84 nations, the US-led Coalition’s mission has been “degrading and ensuring Daesh’s enduring defeat,” it says on its website, using Arabic acronym for the extremist group.
ISIS swept through large parts of Iraq in 2014, seizing vast swathes of land and committing countless atrocities, including genocide. The group was territorially defeated in 2017 but it continues to pose serious security risks in the country though hit-and-run attacks, bombings, and abductions, particularly in the disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil.
Weapons provided by Germany, especially the guided anti-tank MILAN missiles, were very essential in Peshmerga forces’ fight against the terror group.
“The goal of the mission has not yet been achieved, but the international community has come significantly closer to the goal in recent years. A continuation of the commitment is necessary in order to consolidate, expand, and further develop what has been achieved so far,” the German government said about the anti-ISIS mission.
The combat mission of the US-led Coalition ended in Iraq at the end of 2021 and the German army has mostly been based in the Kurdistan Region.