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  • Peshmerga is the term used by Kurds to refer to armed Kurdish fighters. The Peshmerga forces of Kurdistan have existed since the advent of the Kurdish independence movement in the early 1920s, following the collapse of the Ottoman and Qajar empires which had jointly ruled over the area. Peshmerga is also the official name of the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in the semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. Peshmerga forces include women in their ranks. The Peshmerga has proven to be an effective army, providing security to all ethnicities. During the US-led invasion of Iraq the Peshmerga helped the United States in their mission to capture Saddam Hussein. They also captured al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden's messenger Hassan Ghul in 2004, which eventually led to Operation Neptune Spear in which U.S. Navy SEALs located and killed Bin Laden. Recently, Peshmerga and other Kurdish fighters have been on the front lines of the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

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