Passages from the diary of one of PDKI’s new Peshmerga recruits have appeared in the party’s newspaper. The diary, written by Aso Salih, details the discipline and rigor of Peshmerga training, but also comradeship and the moral and political edification of the Peshmergas.
The diary further describes the challenging conditions under which PDKI’s new Peshmerga recruits concluded their training. The final weeks of their training coincided with clashes between PDKI’s Peashmerga Forces in eastern (Iranian) Kurdistan and the subsequent shelling of PDKI’s bases and training camps in the border area between eastern and southern (Iraqi) Kurdistan.
Bleow, we have provided English translation of some passages of the diary.
“Baking bread was the first skill we acquired. All new Peshmergas need to acquire the skills of providing food for themselves. This first item on our training list was fun and we concluded it with many laughs along the way.
“Next, we were taught tactics of war and how to handle different kinds of weapons.”
“Another important skill we had to acquire was how to dig trenches and find safe places during nighttime [since Peshmerga is constantly on the move and cannot stay in one place].”
“Maintaining good hygiene is imperative [for Peshmerga] irrespective of the situation at hand and is part and parcel of the overall discipline of Peshmerga.”
“After our daily physical exercise we had theoretical courses in strategy, tactics, and intelligence gathering.”
“[One day], a few minutes before break at 09:00 AM, we heard the sound of an aircraft; shortly thereafter, the first missile hit [an area far from our base], the following missiles hit closer and closer.The Peshmerga recruits moved fast to find shelter. It became apparent that the [Iranian] aircrafts were conducting reconnaissance and targeting us at the same time. We saw smoke all around of us. We managed to withstand these threats by maintaining high morale and received useful advice from our experienced commanders. The shelling and missile attacks subsequently receded and the Peshmergas could leave their shelters.”
“Our instructors moved the training equipments to safer places [in order to continue the training]. After a while, the training resumed and we managed to find new places to evade [Iranian] aircrafts.”
“A demanding day of training was completed with a simple Peshmerga meal which consisted of bread and tomatoes.
“Given Iranian shelling and missile attacks, we had to be on the move. During the rest of our the training program, we constantly moved to new and safer places to evade Iranian aircrafts.”
“We all got very tired and slept wherever we could.”
“Our Peshmerga instructors had very demanding tasks and were also tired. Yet, whenever we [recruits] rested, the instructors took time to prepare the next session of training.”
“Our final day ended with a graduation ceremony on Halgord Mountain.”
All the photographs have been taken by Aso Salih