Washington says the Pentagon is speeding up its efforts to train Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also mentioned that US troops already in Iraq would be used.
General Lloyd Austin, head of US forces in the region, made the request to accelerate the process. Around 50 special operations troops are at the Ain Al-Asad airbase, which was used by the US military in the Iraq War from 2003-11. They are working on training programs to try and counter the threat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants.
“We agreed with General Austin’s recommendations to take some of the special operations forces that he has in Iraq and give them some early missions with the Iraqi security forces in Anbar province just to kind of continue the mission, accelerate the mission,” Hagel said, speaking to reporters at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, which was reported by Reuters.