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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

American Forces Press Service

Iraqi Army Unit in Diyala Province Taking Control

By Staff Sgt. Mark Wojciechowski, USA
American Forces Press Service

BAQUBAH, Iraq, May 12, 2006 Sending the Iraqi army forth to take care of security operations is the key to the safety of the Iraqi people and the groundwork for the establishment of a free government, many senior military officials have said.

Iraqi army soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, are independently conducting operations in their area of Diyala province. They are performing gathering their own intelligence, patrolling their streets and hunting for insurgents and terrorists.

A brigade-sized operation conducted recently throughout the village of Tahrir yielded a handful of suspected insurgents who were detained for questioning. "This operation is the responsibility of the Iraqi army to run from start to finish," said Army Maj. Jeff Arrington of Multinational Corps Iraq's Military Training and Transition Team.

"We just wait here until they return from their target areas with the detainees," said Army Staff Sgt. Rodney Horner of the training team. "The Military Training and Transition Team's job during this operation is to stand back in the assembly area and wait on the Iraqi army soldiers to conduct their operation. We are just here to supervise."

Horner said the Iraqi unit has progressed so much that "we are to the point now where we are just monitoring and advising in the operations."

"They have been conducting operations on their own in this area under their young, charismatic brigade commander, Gen. Saman al-Talabani," said Arrington. "Talabani refers to himself as a modern general. Under the old regime, a general would not ask someone for their advice on how to do something. Talabani inquires how to do things better."

(Army Staff Sgt. Mark Wojciechowski is assigned to the 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

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