(Source : airforcemag.com – Brian W. Everstine) –  Coronavirus Stops Training in Iraq, Deployments to Afghanistan

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has suspended its training mission for 60 days as the new coronavirus outbreak spreads. At the same time, the U.S. military has stopped deployments to Afghanistan, a move that will extend the deployment for some service members.

As part of the pause, some of the 2,500 coalition training personnel have been withdrawn from the country, Agence France Presse reported.

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense announced March 19 it was pulling some of its personnel from Iraq citing a “reduced requirement for training from the Iraqi Security Forces and a subsequent pause in the Coalition and North Atlantic Treaty Organization training missions in Iraq.”

The reduction comes as U.S. forces are withdrawing and handing over control of key bases, such as al Qaim, Qayyarah West, and K-1 Air Base.

In Afghanistan, the training mission is continuing, though it is being adapted to mitigate risks. When possible, the coalition and Afghan forces are conducting training via teleconference and other “technical means,” while bases reorganize to create physical distance, with limited access to mission-essential personnel.

The COVID-19 outbreak also has affected the flow of forces into the theater, which will force some service members to stay in the country longer than scheduled. (…)


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