Portugal’s Iraq mission is “risky”, admits general

General Pina Monteiro admitted this week that the mission of 30 Portuguese soldiers who traveled to Iraq on Wednesday (May 6) to help international forces against Islamic State is “risky”
“There is no military mission that doesn’t pose risks,” the head of Portugal’s armed forces told Lusa. “All you have to do is see the environment (in Iraq) to know that this is a risky mission.”

But the soldiers are well-trained and have experience in similar work in Afghanistan, he added.

“There is a reason we are sending these men and not regular citizens. I believe in them, in their abilities and competence. I’m sure they are going to honour the name of Portugal and its Armed Forces.”

As widely reported, the mission is expected to last “at least a year”.

The troops will work with American and Spanish forces at an Iraqi military base, 50 kilometres east of Baghdad – and are not expected to engage in military attacks.

Their focus is to be on helping prepare Iraqi military forces.