Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on European countries to "step up" with stronger help to defeat the Islamic State during a brief, unannounced visit to Australian troops in Iraq.

Speaking to several hundred Australia and Kiwi soldiers at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, Mr Turnbull flagged possible further Australian contributions but stressed the commitment would not last forever.

"We're encouraging other countries, particularly other European countries, Nato countries, to step up and make a greater contribution, too," he said.

Australia has about 300 troops training the Iraqi Army at Taji base as well as an air taskforce including six Hornet fighter jets and about 80 elite special force soldiers helping direct Iraqi combat operations from various bases.


Mr Turnbull said Australia's contribution to Iraq remained the second-largest after the US, though Italy could surpass Australia if its most recent pledges were fulfilled.

Many European countries have had relatively modest contributions in Iraq and Syria, though some have started to step up their roles.

"What further commitments we were to make would depend on the circumstances. But we do not intend to be in Iraq forever," he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Turnbull met Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad and also visited the special forces soldiers there.

Mr Turnbull said Mr al-Abadi was "so appreciative" of the Australian help and that of New Zealand, which has about 100 troops working alongside the Diggers at Taji base in the training role.