Pentagon’s top watchdog paints gloomy picture of fight against ISIL

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OTTAWA — A new report to the U.S. Congress by the Pentagon’s top watchdog is painting a gloomy picture about the five-year-old fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Among the findings by the U.S. Defense Department’s inspector general was that there has been little progress over the past nine months in weaning Iraqi security forces off their heavy reliance on foreign assistance in fighting ISIL.

That is despite concerted training efforts by the international community, including Canada, which is leading a NATO training mission in Iraq that includes 250 Canadian military members.

The report also warns ISIL was able to use the U.S. military’s recent drawdown in Syria and Turkey’s subsequent invasion to regroup and strengthen its ability to plan attacks against the West.

And it says the co-ordination of international efforts to stabilize and rebuild the devastated country has also been hindered by the U.S. government’s decision to withdraw many of its diplomats and the majority of its development staff in recent months.

Canada has been working with its allies to destroy ISIL since October 2014.