Next phase of bombing campaign might involve training Iraqi troops

Canada's top military commander Gen. Tom Lawson says bolstering Iraqi forces likely next phase of U.S.-led coalition's effort

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

OTTAWA – Canada’s bombing campaign against Islamist insurgents could eventually lead to an Afghan-style mission to train the Iraqi army, but it’s an open question whether the Harper government will commit to such a venture.

The country’s top military commander, Gen. Tom Lawson, says bolstering Iraqi forces is the likely next phase of the U.S.-led coalition’s effort and was discussed among military brass in Washington this week.

Published reports in the U.S. that say Washington has asked NATO to organize a mission to train Iraqi soldiers, many of whom received American instruction up to 2009.

Canada recently ended a three-year deployment where it was the second- biggest contributor to the alliance’s Kabul-based mission to train Afghan forces.

Lawson was clear on Friday that the Canadian combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is slated to last only six months and is limited to an air campaign.

He says it hasn’t been determined what countries would take part in a subsequent training mission.

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