Iraqis increase their National Army presence in Northern Iraq

Three of the four Iraqi army divisions in the north are now under the control of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command, and U.S. troops are turning over more counterinsurgency operations to those units, the top U.S. commander in the region said today. This will allow U.S. forces to refocus its combat operations and to continue working with local governments on economic issues, said Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Multinational Division North. U.S. troops are now serving more in an advise-and-assist role, Mixon said. U.S. combat operations are more focused on specific targets, such as individuals and groups who finance, make and use improvised explosive devices. Mixon reported that Iraqi units in the region are manned at about 85 percent. They do, however, have significant equipment shortages, he said. The final division should fall in under Iraqi command and control by this summer. To help train the Iraqi troops, Mixon has added nearly 400 U.S. soldiers to his military transition teams.
Source: Fred W. Baker III -American Forces Press Service-

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