Colonel David Williams is the chief coalition liaison with Kurdish forces in the north. The coalition has provided intensive training for years to the Peshmerga, the Kurdish security forces, equipping them with high-level military gear and, some say, helping them turn a mountain militia into a well-honed and modern fighting force.
They do the same for the Iraqi army; the country’s top counter-terrorism force was founded by U.S. Special Forces, and multiple branches of the security forces have been trained by them; while the pandemic ended in-person training, the regular equipment handouts continue.
The Iraqi government says the country’s armed forces, who were swiftly overpowered when ISIS swept through much of Iraq in 2014, are now ready to fight the country’s multiple security threats alone. Others aren’t so sure.
Peshmerga General Sirwan Barzani has worked hand-in-hand with the coalition for years; he says local forces couldn’t manage in a year what foreign forces can do in a few days.