The president of Iraq's Kurdistan Region told VOA on Friday that he was focused not only on fighting Islamic State but also on making sure that another group like it does not emerge.
Masoud Barzani said his government was trying to provide "full security and stability for all of Iraq, and especially for the Kurdistan Region and [displaced people], whether Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Christians, to return to their homes."
He said the fight against Islamic State was posing several challenges, but Kurdish fighters, or Peshmerga, have been able to meet the region's needs in the battle.
Barzani said the fight was more than just a military or economic war; "it is an ideological war," he said, and in Kurdistan, "the regional government is taking some practical steps so religious leaders play their role and do not allow our young people, because of some ignorant clergymen or misguided ones, to make the mistake" of joining Islamic State.
Barzani is in Washington with a high-level delegation meeting with U.S. officials.
Earlier this week, Barzani met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for talks on a wide range of issues, including the fight against Islamic State and initiatives to address the needs of the Iraqi people.
The White House said Obama and Biden repeated the strong U.S. commitment to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the Kurdish people. They also commended the bravery of Peshmerga in the fight against IS.
The U.S. is providing security assistance to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.