A top Iraqi Kurdish security official says his forces have begun receiving training from western allies including the United States as they seek to beef up their capabilities against the Islamic State militant group.

Helgurd Hikmet, general director of the ministry overseeing Kurdish military forces known as peshmerga, tells The Associated Press that France, Italy and Germany are also among countries providing training to help Kurdish forces use new machine guns, mortars, rockets and demining robots they have received.

The U.S. launched airstrikes and humanitarian missions in August to aid Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in northern Iraq. The French last week joined in the aerial campaign. A number of European countries have also committed to arming the Kurds and providing humanitarian support for more than a million displaced people.