NATO has suspended training missions in Iraq, a spokesman for the alliance said Saturday, following the US killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.
“NATO’s mission is continuing, but training activities are currently suspended,” said the spokesman, Dylan White. He also confirmed that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had spoken by telephone with US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper “following recent developments.”
The NATO mission in Iraq, which numbers in the hundreds, trains the country’s security forces at the request of the Baghdad government to prevent the return of the Islamic State group. The mission is currently led by Canada, which earlier called for restraint in the wake of the deadly missile strike on the convoy carrying Soleimani and a leader of an Iraqi militia group.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that the US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq also scaled back its Iraqi activities, including training programs and other anti-jihadist operations.
The announcement follows the death of Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds force, in a US airstrike in Baghdad, with a funeral ceremony for him and others killed in the attack kicking off on Saturday, as reported by i24NEWS – AFP.