Pentagon: Iraqi defense chief tells Hagel offensive vs militants a priority

October 23, 2014 20:56

WASHINGTON - Iraq's new defense minister affirmed his commitment to military reform and said going on the offensive against Islamic State fighters is a priority, the Pentagon said on Thursday after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke to his counterpart by phone.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Hagel and Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi spoke for about 20 minutes on Thursday morning in their first phone call since al-Obeidi was approved as the Iraq's defense chief.

"The minister was quite clear, ... on more than one occasion in the call, that he has every intention of going on the offense against ISIL and making sure that the Iraqi security forces are properly resourced, trained and equipped to do that," Kirby told reporters, using an acronym for the Islamic State militants.

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