Defence Minister Mark expresses “absolute confidence” in NZDF forces stationed in Iraq

While feeling worried about increased Middle East tensions, Defence Minister Ron Mark said he had "absolute confidence" in New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) leadership. His statements come as the fate of Kiwi troops stationed in Iraq comes under intense scrutiny.

Forty-five Defence Force personnel were thought to be in the Taji​ military complex near Baghdad and another five in the Iraqi capital itself. The Iraqi Parliament has already moved a motion to expel U.S. forces from their country, but Minister Mark said there has been no such request for Kiwi troops.

"The Iraqi government has not asked us to withdraw," the Minister said.

"We have a mandate for a mission."

Minister Mark said he had faith in the ability of New Zealand's coalition partners to assess the situation on the ground and it was not for him to interfere in operational matters.

The NZDF has put its training activities in Iraq on hold after Soleimani's death.

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