The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have administered the Iraqi Kurdish region jointly, and often fractiously, since 1991.
Jalal Talabani is the leader of PUK. Before the war the group was believed to have 10,000 troops plus 22,000 tribesmen. Their weaponry was estimated at 450 mortars plus anti-aircraft guns and SA7 air defense weapons. Kurdish guerrillas, whose name "peshmerga" means "those prepared to die," have played an important role in the northern fight against Saddam's regime.