Peshmerga forces in Shingal.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A committee formed by the Kurdistan Region president has questioned 200 Peshmerga officers over their performance when Islamic State (ISIS) militants attacked Iraq’s Kurdish areas last summer, with disciplinary action possible against some.
Halgurd Hikmat, media officer of the Peshmerga ministry, told Rudaw that the committee comprised of a judge, an envoy of President Massoud Barzani and a Peshmerga ministry official, has almost concluded its inquiries for the president to review.
In August, ISIS militants invaded the Kurdish Yezidi town of Shingal, 110 kilometers west of Erbil, overrunning it and taking hundreds captives and killing many more.
The sudden retreat of the Peshmerga forces came as a shock to the world, as the Kurds were seen as the only force able to stop the lightning advance of the extremist group across Iraq and Syria.
“The committee has questioned officers and commanders from all fronts without regard to rank or area,” an official knowledgeable about the issue told Rudaw on condition of anonymity.
The official said that all testimonies have been compiled into a special report to be submitted to the president, who is commander-in-chief of Kurdistan’s armed forces.
The ISIS takeover of Shingal and surrounding areas displaced more than 300,000 Yezidi Kurds and many Christians who fled to refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region.
The official said that many of the officers under investigation are currently leading the fight against ISIS on different frontlines and that “they have achieved great victories recently.”
“When ISIS attacked we were not quite ready. Hence, the initial setbacks,” he said.
Jabar Yawar, chief of staff of the Peshmerga ministry, said that officers from Shingal all the way to the southeastern frontlines of Khanaqin were questioned by the committee and that some might be disciplined.
“As the Peshmerga ministry we will abide by the findings of the inquiry,” Yawar told Rudaw. “Everything is possible; I believe some of them might be punished because this committee is very serious.”