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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Over 150,000 enlisted as Peshmerga troops in Kurdistan Region, official data shows

By Rudaw 3/4/2017
Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— The number of troops affiliated with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces has exceeded 150,000 members, many of them recruited in the aftermath of the ISIS war nearly three years ago, according to several Peshmerga sources who have spoken to Rudaw.  

The total number of the troops is considerably larger than the official figure recognized and funded by the Ministry of Peshmerga. 

The two dominant Kurdish factions, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) maintain formidable Peshmerga units, well over 100,000 that are not part of the ministry’s official enlistees.


“According to our data, the ministry has 42,000 Peshmerga members. But there are also the PUK’s 70th Brigade with over 58,000 Peshmerga troops and the KDP’s 80th Brigade also with over 58,000,” which are not directly managed by the ministry, said lawmaker Qadir Watman. 

As the war against the Islamic State militants raged in 2014, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani ordered to reform the Peshmerga forces, following battlefield reports that the troops lacked a unified command structure.

The ministry then was given six months to carry out the necessary reforms and place the force under a single, unified command.

 

The decision followed a report by the parliamentary committees from the battlefields, in which MPs noted that the Peshmerga ministry did not have authority over all troops.

 

The unification of the armed forces of the PUK and the KDP under the ministry of Peshmerga has been a major domestic issue since 2005 when the two parties signed a strategic pact that led to a unified government in Erbil. 

 

Although they effectively managed to unify 14 of the existing 18 brigades, the ministry has struggled to bring all the units under its command. 

 

“The unification of the Peshmerga forces needs a political decision,” said PUK senior leader Mustaf Chawrash. “We have had numerous meetings with the KDP over the unification. If the political issues are solved, I think unification should not be a major difficulty,” he added. 

 

In addition to the 150,000 Peshmerga troops, there are also some 51,000 paramilitary Peshmerga forces known as the Zeravani, which are managed by the Kurdish Ministry of Interior, according to lawmaker Watman.  


Comments

 
FreedomOfSpeech | 3/4/2017
Highly doubtful, even pre-2014 Kurdish government was struggling when it came to paying 35000 regular soldiers, can't imagine how hard it is to keep "over" 150000 soldiers well fed and paid.
vlog | 3/4/2017
Good! we need a lot of troops with all the hyenas surrounding us
bain | 3/4/2017
They need proper arms as well, you know like the American arms the Iraqi government has held back from Peshmerga and given to Hashd shia militias instead
James Parker
James Parker | 4/4/2017
Political parties shouldn't have personal armies, that's how you get civil wars.
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