Tuesday, July 15, 2014

US teams complete assessment of Iraqi forces: Pentagon

US teams complete assessment of Iraqi forces: Pentagon: US military teams have completed an assessment of Iraqi security forces, the Pentagon said Monday, amid reports the American officers came away with bleak conclusions.

The teams were deployed to Baghdad this month after Sunni militants swiftly advanced across the country in a string of disastrous battlefield defeats for Shiite-led government forces.

"The assessments from the teams in Iraq have reached the Pentagon," spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

According to The New York Times, the assessment warned that any American troops serving as advisers would face safety risks given infiltration of the Iraqi army by Sunni extremists and Iran-backed Shiite troops or militia.

Citing US officials, the newspaper said the classified assessment also found that only about half of the Iraqi army's units are capable enough to be worth advising by American troops.

Kirby declined to comment on the report's details but acknowledged the danger posed by "insider threats" and that the military had drawn lessons from its experience in Afghanistan, where some NATO troops have been attacked and killed by Afghans in uniform.