PUK co-president says areas having security problems to face threats if plans aren’t changed

PUK Co-president Bafel Talabani meets Brigadier General Richard Bell, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, in Sulaimani, June 16, 2021.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Co-president Bafel Talabani said on Wednesday that some areas that have security issues will face threats of “terrorist forces” if plans aren’t changed and cooperation doesn’t increase.

Talabani met with Brigadier General Richard Bell, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, in Sulaimani according to his office.

Talabani said areas that have security problems “will be at risk of terrorist forces if plans aren’t changed and cooperation isn’t expanded”, his office said in a statement.

The PUK co-president also provided the Coalition delegation with new strategies to fight Islamic State (ISIS) remnants, expressing full cooperation to preserve security and stability, the statement read.

The federal government announced victory over ISIS by the end of 2017 after Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led Coalition regained control of areas once captured by the militant group.

Despite its defeat, ISIS still poses a threat to the security and stability of the country as there are still sleeper cells in Iraq.

Kurdish officials have repeatedly warned that ISIS militants use a security vacuum between the Iraqi and Peshmerga forces in the disputed areas.

The Iraqi military and the Peshmerga forces have established three joint operations rooms in Kirkuk, Khanaqin and Makhmour to exchange information and to carry out joint operations against ISIS in the disputed areas.

Regarding uniting Peshmerga forces, the PUK co-leader expressed his party’s support and readiness to succeed steps to unify the military units.

“The PUK is eager to build a strong and trained military force that reflects today’s reality and that is reorganized on the basis of national principles, partnership and balance of forces,” Talabani was quoted as saying.

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