22 Jun 2017

Defence Minister visits forces stationed in Iraq

10:16 pm on 22 June 2017

The Defence Minister has visited New Zealand troops at Camp Taji near Baghdad in Iraq.

Defence Minister Mark Mitchell speaks to the contingent.

Defence Minister Mark Mitchell speaks to the contingent. Photo: Supplied

Mark Mitchell met the Defence Force contingent who are training Iraqi Security Forces to fight against Islamic State militants.

Mr Mitchell said since the deployment began in 2015, New Zealand's troops had trained more than 23,000 Iraqi soliders.

"Good progress continues to be made in the final liberation of Mosul and the military defeat of ISIS, while not underestimating the longer term challenges the Iraqi government and Iraqi people face as they stabilise and rebuild territory regained from ISIS," Mr Mitchell said in a statement.

New Zealand has 106 trainers, force protection soldiers and regular soldiers at Camp Taji, where Iraq troops are trained in partnership with the Australian Defence Force.

Mr Mitchell, who became Defence Minister in April, was accompanied by National MP Todd Muller and Labour's David Parker.