Federal government replaces personnel at two checkpoints in Khanaqin

Khanaqin, November 2020 – a number of trucks waiting to pass checkpoints between the Kurdistan Region and Diyala province – photo: Amir Khanaqini

Amir Khanaqini - Diyala

A special force has been sent from Baghdad to Khanaqin to be stationed at the Helwan and Bawah Mahmoud checkpoints, with the aim of preventing smuggling operations between the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq.

A source within the security forces, who wished to remain unnamed, has confirmed to KirkukNow that the units of the newly arrived force have been stationed at the two checkpoints on 25 November to replace the existing ones.

The source added: “We assumed our duties on Wednesday at the Halwan and Bawa Mahmoud checkpoints to prevent violations and moving illegal loads from the Kurdistan Region to other Iraqi provinces.”

We have come to control the main checkpoints in Khanaqin

A source from the Peshmerga Forces said that the force from Baghdad first attempted to take over Khanaqin’s customs checkpoint but they have prevented them.

“As soon as they arrived, we put our forces on alert. We initially didn’t know what their intention was, but it was later made clear they were being stationed at the checkpoints.”

Trucks transfer goods from the Kurdistan Region through that road on a daily basis.

Another source within the security forces in Khanaqin said that “some of those trucks transfer counterfeit goods.”

“Eggs, chickens and several types of fruit and vegetables are being smuggled through those checkpoints into the central and southern regions of Iraq,” the source added.

Previously, one of those two checkpoints was manned jointly by Iraqi army and National Security units. And the other was manned by Iraqi army and PMF (Hashd al-Sha’bi) units.

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