The U.S.-led international coalition has transferred the K1 Air Base in the Kirkuk Governorate of Iraq to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
The transfer ceremony was conducted by the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) at the base on March 29.
“Due to Iraqi Security Forces’ success in the campaign against Daesh, the Coalition is adjusting its positioning in Iraq. These military movements are long-planned in coordination with the Government of Iraq. These pre-planned base transfers are not related to recent attacks against Iraqi bases hosting Coalition troops, or the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Iraq”, said a statement released by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
The departing U.S. units from the base are:
• U.S. Army: 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, “Arctic Wolves”; 5th Squadron, 1stCavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment; 25th Brigade Support Battalion; and Forward Resuscitative Surgical Team.
U.S. Navy: Naval Special Operations Advisory Teams; and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Augmentees
“Today in another proud day for our Iraqi Security Force partners and the anti-ISIS international military Coalition,” said Brig. Gen. Vincent Barker, CJTF-OIR director of sustainment. “K1 has served as a critical location for the Coalition, the ISF and Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service in the fight to find and destroy ISIS safe havens in the rugged Hamrin Mountains. It will continue to be a key location in our partnered efforts to eliminate the evils of Daesh. Today’s transfer was coordinated with the Government of Iraq and is possible thanks to the efforts and successes of our ISF partners.”
According to CENTCOM, CJTF-OIR will relocate and consolidate personnel and equipment from several Iraqi bases throughout 2020.
“The ISF increasingly conducts independent operations in the fight against Daesh and the defense of their homeland including the 2020 “Heroes of Iraq” and 2019’s “Will of Victory” campaigns. CJTF-OIR remains in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq and continues anti-ISIS advising. Currently, training operations are temporarily paused due to COVID-19 precautions. The Coalition will operate from fewer locations, but remains committed to supporting our partners in their fight against Daesh”, said the CENTCOM statement.
K1 Air Base
K1 Air Base is an Iraqi air force base located 15 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk, one of the largest metropolitan areas in Iraq. Kirkuk is located approximately 290 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The airbase is home to Iraqi forces from the 6th Federal Police, 61st Iraqi Army Brigade, and Counter-Terrorism Service(CTS) Battalion Kirkuk. Since 2017, K1 Air Base has hosted the U.S.and other Coalition forces who train Iraqi Security Forces to fight against ISIS.
K1 has been used by the Iraqi CTS and the Coalition to launch multiple combined operations in the Hamrin and Mamah-Gorah mountain ranges, which extend across Kirkuk, Diyala and SalahAd-Din provinces.