The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service conducted a raid in late October in Fallujah, resulting in the capture of the suspected leader of an ISIS child recruitment ring, according to Stars and Stripes. And it did so without a single shot fired. This is evidence of its growing capability and independence from its U.S. trainers.
The Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) is trained and equipped primarily by U.S. Army Special Forces under the umbrella of Operation Inherent Resolve, a U.S.-led coalition. It is growing more capable and independent, but CTS still frequently checks its intelligence with the coalition and conducts missions alongside foreign troops, according to its commander, Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi. However, The U.S. Special Operations Advisory Group in Iraq noted that there was no coalition involvement in this operation. In fact, the raid on the ISIS child recruiter raid was one of the many that the Iraqis mounted on their own.
However, the DoD’s lead Inspector General has informed Congress that the Iraqi forces still need international help. Without foreign assistance, Iraqi’s will struggle to keep pressure on ISIS and prevent its resurgence. But CTS’s confidence in their capabilities, which according to LTG Saadi includes “the capability to execute any [ground] mission,” is well supported by recent official data. This data shows that the Counter-Terrorism Service detained 175 suspects and killed nearly 80 others in 151 independent operations. This is good news since the number of U.S. forces in Iraq has been steadily declining, and now sits at fewer that 3000, with another 900 or so in Syria.