U.S. Commander ‘Frustrated’ by Training Pace in Iraq
Posted on Aug 20, 2009
After Wednesday’s multiple bombings in Iraq, which left about 100 dead and more than 500 wounded, Army Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, the U.S. commander in charge of training Iraqi troops before the Americans’ departure, said there’s “much work to be done” during and after the hand-over. —KA
AP via Google News:
“We must continue to develop the capability inside the Iraqi military,” Helmick said. “We are doing that as fast as we can. My frustration is we — I, am not doing it fast enough.”
He said he doesn’t know who was responsible for Wednesday’s coordinated bombings, which killed more than 100 people and wounded 500. One blast was near Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is blaming Sunni insurgents for the attacks.
The nearly simultaneous attacks intensified questions about the capability of Iraqi security forces and underscored doubts about the government’s plan to begin reopening streets and removing blast walls along major city roads.
Helmick told a Pentagon news conference U.S. trainers have built up Iraqi infantry and police forces but tasks such as developing forensic teams, logistical capabilities and intelligence are coming much more slowly.
Defense Dept. / Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
Army Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, and Iraqi Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir al-Mufriji sign documents transferring ownership of 11 Cessnas from the U.S. to the Iraqi Air Force during a ceremony in Baghdad in 2008.