BUDAPEST, Hungary – The U.S. Army has suspended a Hungarian-based program that sought to train Iraqi dissidents for non-combat roles in the war, military officials said Monday.
It did not say why the program was suspended or how many dissidents had participated. But local media reported that about 80 volunteers had completed training at the Taszar base in southern Hungary, dubbed "Camp Freedom."
The Iraqis were trained in two groups -- the first group finishing in February, the second on Friday.
Maj. Gen. David Barno, the Training Task Force commander, said in a statement that the Iraqi volunteers already deployed were making "invaluable contributions" to coalition efforts.
Barno said the first group of volunteers was in the Gulf region helping coalition civil affairs units deliver humanitarian aid through the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr.
The second group also would be sent to the region, he said.
The Army recruited the volunteers from Iraqi opposition groups around the world, although most had been living in the United States. They represent the major Iraqi ethnic groups, including Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.
The Hungarian government had authorized the United States to bring 1,500 trainers and up to 3,000 Iraqis for non-combat training sessions.
U.S. military has used Taszar since December 1995, when it transformed the Hungarian military base into a logistics post for NATO-led peacekeepers in Bosnia.