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US elite troop training in Iraq lags after Mosul

The United States and its allies aren’t training elite counterterrorism forces fast enough to replace the losses incurred in the brutal fight against the Islamic State.
Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) celebrate in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq July 9, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani - RC118C102270
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The United States and its allies failed to train any new members of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism force in the aftermath of the battle for Mosul, a potential blow to efforts to rebuild the country’s premier fighting unit after the fall of the Islamic State (IS).

Between July and October, according to the Pentagon’s Inspector General (IG), the 73-nation coalition combating IS in Iraq and Syria did not train a single new recruit for the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), which spearheaded nearly nine months of block-by-block combat to reclaim Iraq’s second-largest city from IS. The admission raises concerns about the Pentagon’s ability to meet its goal of having 20,000 fighters in the elite unit within the next three years, especially after they suffered a 40% casualty rate in the battle for Mosul.

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