Washington: The United States is aiming to help the Iraqi government battle an increasing threat from Al-Qaeda linked terror groups with military sales and intelligence sharing, a US official said Wednesday.
“We do want to help the Iraqis develop the capability to target these networks effectively and precisely,” the senior official said, after a two-hour meeting between US Vice President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.
The delivery of F-16 fighters to Iraq is on track for next fall, a senior US administration official said on Wednesday, with Iraq recently depositing an installment of roughly $650 million for the jets.
The official said the issue of the F-16’s was not raised during a breakfast on Wednesday with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and Vice President Joe Biden.
“That program is generally on track and obviously has bumps in the road as anything as complicated this does, but their pilots are in training, and the program is on track,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
Iraq last year signed a new contract to buy its second set of 18 F-16 fighters from the United States, part of a deal to purchase 36 of the jets to rebuild its air force.