April 20, 2016 | Quoted by Perry Chiaramonte, Hollie McKay - Fox News

Peshmerga troops running on empty in fight against ISIS

Kurdish Peshmerga forces – arguably the most effective ground troops battling the Islamic State terror group in Iraq – have been fighting for the past three months without a paycheck, according to experts and a top official from the region.


“Unless we get direct [financial] support, we will not be able to continue the way we are currently doing so,” Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said at a forum held by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington on Wednesday.

“The situation is dire. People are not getting paid. Including their frontline troops,” said John Hannah, a senior counselor with the FDD and former national security advisor for former Vice President Dick Cheney, told Foxnews.com.

Hannah said the Kurds “have a lot of issues,” including a bloated government that was built on the expectation of a $100 per barrel of oil. The KRG has also taken on almost two million refugees, on top of a population of only five million Kurds, which has put an incredible strain on their finances.

“They're facing incredible burdens with few good options for relief. They have been cut off from any of their budget from Baghdad, and have no easy access to international debt markets or to the international donor community since they are not a sovereign state,” Hannah said. This shortfall has affected not just Peshmerga fighters, but public service like teachers and healthcare workers.


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