IRBIL, Iraq — The Pentagon will send more weapons, armored Humvees and other military equipment to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq in coming weeks to help them battle Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said here Thursday.

Backed by U.S. airstrikes, the Kurdish guerrillas have dislodged the Sunni militants from key towns and road junctions, and Carter praised their combat skills.

“The Kurdish peshmerga have been exactly what we’ve been looking for in this whole fight in Iraq and Syria, namely a capable and motivated force that we can enable,” Carter said after meeting with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.