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US Accelerates Training in Iraq’s Anbar Province

FILE - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. military is accelerating its training and advising mission in Iraq as forces there continue to battle Islamic State militants.

Hagel said the military has moved some of the U.S. special operations forces in Iraq into early missions with Iraqi forces in volatile Anbar province.

“Just to kind of continue the mission, accelerate the mission of preparing for training and equipping, and the things we need to do to start setting that up,” said Hagel.

Hagel said the troops moved into Anbar province over the last couple of days. He said General Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, recommended the effort.

The Pentagon says the U.S. military plans to train 12 brigades to fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq. Nine of those will be Iraqi Security Force brigades, while the other three will be Kurdish peshmerga forces.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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