So, New Zealand is pulling out of its military role at Camp Taji in Iraq, where in partnership with the Australians, we currently provide about a quarter of the personnel engaged in a programme that trains Iraqi soldiers. (The Australians currently have about 300 troops stationed at Taji.) Our presence will reduce in stages from the current force of 95 troops to 75 next month to 45 in January and then to zero by this time next year. As a backstop… come June 2020, Cabinet will consider our participation in the multi-national Defeat ISIS coalition.
One fascinating aspect of this withdrawal decision is that it is not a case of victory over ISIS having being declared and everyone else going home at the same time, too. Only a couple of months ago, Canada announced that it would be extending its 250-strong training force until March 2021 at least.