U.S. Training New Iraqi Force to Battle Guerrillas

(New York Times) Jeffrey Gettleman - American military advisers are forming an all-Iraqi counterinsurgency force and training it in guerrilla tactics. The Iraqi National Task Force is the most ambitious effort yet to fight the uprising using Iraqis, and it already has 1,000 soldiers, with plans to grow to 7,000. It is being created as a response to the refusal of a group of regular Iraqi soldiers to face insurgents in Falluja two months ago. That breakdown culminated in a tense standoff on an airfield with eight American marines surrounded by an angry group of 200 armed Iraqis who refused to board helicopters. "I personally made the mistake with the Falluja incident," said Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, the senior military adviser in charge of training Iraqi security forces. "We tried to send the Iraqi Army into Falluja before they were ready, and they pushed back." Col. Shafeen Abdul Majid, a steely eyed Kurdish fighter, said the key to fighting the resistance was "making your soldiers understand they are fighting for Iraq, not against it."

2004-06-04 00:00:00

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