(The National) Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi arrived in Mosul on Wednesday to survey the damage left six years after the city was overrun by ISIS and to voice his commitment to the city after years of neglect.
Speaking upon his arrival, Mr Al Kadhimi said: “we must never allow what happened in 2014 to be repeated”
The northern Iraqi city became the extremist group’s de facto capital in the country between 2014 and 2017, when a grinding internationally-backed military campaign ousted them in the country.
Mr Al Kadhimi’s first meeting in Mosul on Wednesday morning was with military and security chiefs. He is accompanied by Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab Al Saadi, the head of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service who was instrumental in defeating ISIS in Mosul and liberating it in June 2017.
“All Iraqis played a part in the liberation of Mosul,” the prime minister said. “Iraq was victorious thanks to their scarifies and to the heroism of the Iraqi Armed Forces.”
The visit comes just weeks after Mr Al Kadhimi took office after five months of political wrangling that saw two others attempt to form a cabinet only to stand down. Mr Al Kadhimi has now formed a full cabinet and has begun to set out a programme of work to fix the country’s shattered infrastructure, look to create jobs, improve public services and address demands of the thousands of protesters who’s collective anger at the state of the nation forces the previous administration to resign.
But, three years later and much of the city is still in ruins, reconstruction hampered by the tons of unexploded ordnance, booby traps and mines left by the terror group.
The battle for Mosul left behind an estimated 8 million tons of rubble and destroyed prominent historical architecture.