Nato chief: Iraq gives permission for training mission,

The Iraqi government has granted Nato permission to stay in the country and continue its training mission, said the alliance’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.

Mr Stoltenberg confirmed the organisation’s continued roll in Iraq as member nations’ defence ministers met in Brussels.

“The government of Iraq has confirmed to us their desire for a continuation of the Nato training, advising and capacity-building activities for the Iraqi armed forces,” he said. “We will only stay in Iraq as long as we are welcome.”

The permission is a reversal by the Iraqi government, which had demanded all foreign troops be removed from its territory after the killing of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani near Baghdad in January.[…]

Under the initiative, those training Iraqi troops as part of the global coalition against ISIS will effectively come under the Nato banner. The alliance has not provided details about how many of its troops might be added to the advisory mission. But Mr Stoltenberg is expected to make further announcements after the Nato ministerial meeting on Friday if the mission is approved. Officials have said that “a couple of hundred” troops would change roles.

The first step would be to expand the training to three more bases in central Iraq. Läs artikel