U.S. approves $295.6 million military equipment sale to Iraq: Pentagon

Peshmerga forces. File photo.

(Reuters/ The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of $295.6 million worth of military equipment to Iraq for artillery and infantry Kurdish peshmerga units, a Pentagon agency said on Wednesday.

The equipment requested by the Iraqi government would outfit two peshmerga infantry brigades and two support artillery battalions, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

Congress was notified of the approval on Tuesday, and the notice does not mean the sale has been concluded, the agency said.

Peshmerga fighters have partaken in the six-month-old U.S.-backed security campaign to oust Islamic State militants from Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the group’s biggest stronghold. The U.S. has provided support for the security offensive with airstrikes and combat advisers on the ground.

On Tuesday, Jabbar Yawar, the peshmerga ministry’s secretary general, was quoted by Kurdish-run website BasNews saying Washington continues providing 26 billion Iraqi Dinars (approximately $20.3 million) monthly to Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

He explained that the amount covers payments for 36,000 Peshmerga troops.

According to the official, the US also provides the ministry with spare parts for military equipment it has previously sent to the Kurdish forces to help them with their fight against Islamic State (IS).

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