The Kurdistan Region boasts a remarkable security record. Since the war that toppled Saddam Hussein from power in 2003, not a single US soldier has been killed in Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-controlled territory. Thanks primarily to its successes in this arena, life in the Kurdistan Region has largely returned to normal and economic development is booming. The current Chief of Intelligence and Security for the Kurdistan Region is Masrour Barzani, who has been serving in this post since 1999. Passed on November 20, 2004 by the Kurdistan National Assembly, Law 46 establishes the legal basis for the conduct of security services in the Region and regulates the agency's behaviour.
Kurds from the Region have utilized this local success to aid important policing and security-related missions in other parts of Iraq. Recognized for their discipline and commitment to duty, Kurdish troops have fought alongside coalition forces in major campaigns throughout the country. Many Kurds are now serving in the Iraqi forces, and several all-Kurdish battalions have served with distinction in places with high levels of inter-communal tension such as Kirkuk, Mosul, and Baghdad.
Kurdish security and intelligence forces have also been responsible for uncovering numerous terrorist cells before they were able to execute their plans. Through cooperation with other regional agencies in Iraq and, most importantly, from the local population, the security forces have successfully protected Kurdistan Region's civilian population from the brutality directed against civilians in other parts of the country. Thousands of Kurds have lost their lives in support of a new Iraq.
Furthermore, as part of a continuing commitment to social development and under President Barzani's leadership, Kurdish security forces have been officially opened to female candidates. Currently, hundreds of women have received training and plans are underway to increase opportunities for qualified candidates in the future. This reform has made the Kurdistan Region a leader in female liberation in the Middle East.
Another major avenue of reform has been efforts to abolish the use of torture in the KRG, a truly remarkable feat given the isolation and cruelty forced upon Kurds under Saddam's regime. While there is still work to be done, the KRG is committed to achieving the highest standards of human rights protection and has actively cooperated with independent monitoring bodies such as Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Commission in order to address potential problems.
The President is committed to capitalizing on these security achievements through a continued commitment to improved training, increased professionalization, continued diversification of recruits, and heightened community responsiveness. This will position the Kurdistan Region to meet significant challenges in community responsiveness, border control and monitoring, force restructuring, and anti-terrorism into the future.