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Pentagon stops budgeting for peshmerga salaries

The Pentagon’s fiscal year 2019 budget doesn’t specifically dedicate payments for Iraq’s Kurdish fighting force after it stepped back from the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters gather north of Kirkuk, Iraq October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed - RC1244BF1E20

The Trump administration’s budget proposal for next fiscal year no longer carves out dedicated payments for peshmerga salaries even as the Pentagon aims to continue training the Kurdish force.

The Department of Defense had requested $365 million in stipends for the year that ends Sept. 30 but did not spend the money after negotiations to extend an expiring memorandum of understanding broke down in September. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had reportedly agreed to pay the peshmerga wages in October, but a US Inspector General report released earlier this month said the Kurdish fighters still hadn’t been paid.

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