Anzac force could form to fight Isis

New Zealand and Australia are in talks around forming a joint force to serve in Iraq against Islamic State, a century after the first Anzac force was created, Australian media are reporting.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph this morning said it had confirmed that Australian defence figures had been in discussions with New Zealand officials around the joint force.

Prime Minister John Key had also been in private discussions with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to explore the possibility of joint Anzac taskforce consisting of several hundred troops, the Daily Telegraph reported.

It is estimated that a further 400 Australian specialist soldiers could be sent, along with an as-yet-unknown number of New Zealand troops.

Mr Key has indicated New Zealand will contribute to efforts to combat IS with as training role likely for New Zealand personnel but his Government has yet to confirm the exact form of assistance.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the Government had " made it very clear for some time that we're talking to the Australians about how we both might contribute to the coalition campaign to counter ISIL (Islamic State)".

" We've also made it clear that if New Zealand concludes it has a military role to play in Iraq, it will only be a training role, building the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, and will not involve combat."

By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald

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