Slovak experts to train Iraqi soldiers

Slovakia will send specialists to Iraq to train members of their army in mine clearance, ground maintenance and special operations.

Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš during the May 17 cabinet session.Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš during the May 17 cabinet session. (Source: TASR)

On May 17, the cabinet approved a plan according to which up to 47 Slovak soldiers should be sent to the Iraqi region between October and December. Sending soldiers to Iraq forms part of Slovakia’s contribution to NATO’s fight against terrorism.

“We're part of NATO, and as a coalition partner we will from part of a global coalition in the fight against the Islamic State," Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš said after the cabinet session, as quoted by the TASR newswire, stressing that this will be a training mission, and not a combat one.

Slovakia will present its contribution in the form of special soldiers to its allies at the NATO summit in Brussels later this month. “Our contribution will focus exclusively on carrying out training tasks and on providing advice and assistance in the process of forming capacities of the Iraqi forces on the territory of the Republic of Iraq. We aren’t planning to dispatch any combat units,” added Gajdoš, noting that the Slovak contribution should involve a maximum of two six-month tours of duty.

Mission: training Iraqis

The members of the Slovak army who will be in charge of the demining training will educate instructors of the Iraqi armed forces to this effect and will issue permits for using the Božena 4 light demining system. Slovak military police officers will also train members of the Iraqi federal and local police, while Slovak soldiers for special operations will provide military assistance to members of the Iraqi special forces in acquiring the required skills.

The total cost estimates for dispatching the Slovak soldiers amounts to some €5.7 million in the case of one tour of duty and about €8.8 million in the case of both.

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