Officials from Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve transferred the Coalition area of Camp Taji, Iraq, to Iraqi Security Forces in a ceremony Aug. 23, 2020.
The transfer is a result of the Iraqi Security Forces’ success in the ongoing campaign to defeat Daesh remnants in Iraq, allowing the Coalition to shift its focus and role. The movement of Coalition military personnel is part of a long-range plan coordinated with the Government of Iraq.
“This is truly a historic day,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Ekman, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. “For the past six years, Camp Taji has served as a primary installation for Coalition partners to train the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Air Force, and the Qwat al-Khasah. The Coalition’s efforts have enabled the Iraqis to train themselves. From this day forward, the ISF will take full responsibility for the facilities and programs at Taji and continue to use the site to lead and conduct training as part of the mission to defeat Daesh remnants.”
More than 47,000 ISF members at Camp Taji learned operational skills including infantry tactics, marksmanship, operations planning, combat medicine and intelligence analysis – enabling them to take the fight to Daesh and restore their country’s sovereignty.
Camp Taji has historically held up to 2,000 Coalition members, with the majority departing over the summer of 2020. Major elements based at Camp Taji over the years included a Spanish helicopter battalion and military trainers from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and NATO.
This ceremony marks the eighth transfer of the Coalition portion of an Iraqi base under the partnership between the Iraqi Security Forces and the anti-ISIS international military Coalition.
“This is what success looks like,” said Australian Brig. Gen. Simon Johnstone, CJTF-OIR director of strategy, plans and assessments and senior Australian officer in the Coalition. “The transfer of bases like Taji is part of our campaign plan for the ISF to secure their own future and defend Iraqi sovereignty. The tremendous efforts by the ISF and the Coalition demonstrate our shared commitment from the Coalition and Australia to ensure safety, security and stability for Iraqi citizens.”
Numerous improvements were made to the Iraqi base, which served as a premier training venue for the anti-ISIS forces. The Coalition transferred $347 million in equipment and property to the Government of Iraq. This was the highest dollar figure of any base transfer. Base improvements and divestments include airfield and runway renovations, modular aircraft shelters, infantry training ranges, vehicles, and more than 90 million rounds of ammunition.
Remaining Coalition troops will depart Taji after completion of equipment transfers to the ISF in the coming days.