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Czech military police to send four specialists to Iraq as of Sept

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Prague, Aug 26 (CTK) – Czech military police are sending another four specialists to Iraq as of September to join their colleagues on a mission aimed to train Iraqi armed forces, Military Police head Pavel Kriz has told CTK.

Next year, Czech military police officers will take part in a mission to Lithuania within the Czech military unit joining NATO’s plan to reinforce its eastern wing, Kriz said.

Simultaneously, Czech military police have been deployed in Iraq since late 2016 as part of an air force advisory team that helps the Iraqi military cope with piloting and maintenance of its Czech-made L-159 combat planes.

Their task is to accompany and protect the Czech pilot instructors during the training and outside the air force base. They also protect the site in the Balad base where the Czech aviation instructors are accommodated.

There are six military police officers at the Balad base. Their number will be reduced to three soon in favour of reinforcing the Czech mission that trains Iraqi armed forces at the Iraqi government’s request.

For the time being, the Czechs provide basic military training to their Iraqi counterparts, such as shooting, ballistics and medical aid, Kriz said, adding that he expects the Iraqis to ask later for advanced specialist training as snipers, bomb disposal and criminal police experts.

He said he considers the mission beneficial for the Czech military police since by taking part in it, the officers gain experience and improve their language proficiency.

Neighbouring Slovakia’s military police want to join the mission next year as well, Kriz said.

Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) told CTK that military police have successfully participated in the Czech military’s missions abroad for many years. Their instructors have trained thousands of Iraqi and Afghan armed forces’ members, Stropnicky said.

Further Czech military police are serving in missions in Sinai and Afghanistan now. They have been newly protecting the Czech embassy and ambassador in Kabul since June.

Kriz said the mission at the embassy in Kabul is very demanding and it involves the most experienced and best prepared military police officers.

A bomb attack hit the German embassy in the Czech embassy’s close vicinity in Kabul, killing dozens and wounding hundreds of people.

Kriz said the protection of the Czech embassy has not changed since. “The system and the protection have been set in a way to prepare them for similar attacks. True, we also need a bit of good luck for our mission to be a success,” Kriz said.

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