To coutner ISIS

Pentagon spokesperson affirms support for Peshmerga

NEWSROOM – The U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson, Patrick Ryder, reaffirmed ongoing U.S. support for the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, emphasizing their effectiveness in reducing ISIS’s capabilities alongside Iraqi forces.

Ryder’s remarks come amid a resurgence of ISIS activities in Iraq and Syria, with May marking the deadliest month in ISIS attacks on Iraqi security forces in years.
“We have also seen that when these two forces [the Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces] collaborate, they are stronger in eliminating terrorist organizations in the region,” Ryder said.

ISIS’s takeover of large parts of Iraqi territory in 2014 prompted closer security cooperation between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the U.S. government. The Pentagon has since provided weaponry, training, and funding to the Peshmerga.

The U.S. Department of Defense signed a memorandum of understanding with the KRG in 2016 to support the Peshmerga, including providing monthly salaries for a portion of the Peshmerga forces. The agreement was updated in 2022.

The U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2024 stipulated continued U.S. military support for the Peshmerga, including the provision of air defense systems. However, the Pentagon has not yet provided such sophisticated weaponry to the KRG, despite the Kurdistan Region coming under continued missile and drone attacks by Iran and its aligned militias in Iraq.

Recently, the KRG representative to Washington, Treefa Aziz, wrote an article in The Hill, calling on U.S. government agencies to abide by the NDAA provisions for providing air defense systems to Kurdistan.