Kurdish Security Forces Iraq
A member of the Kurdish security forces guards a section of an oil refinery being transported to Kalak refinery in the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region, on 14 July.Reuters

Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan is pushing the US to supply it with high-tech weapons it says it needs to deal with the threat from Islamic State (Isis) militants, according to Kurdish and US officials cited by Reuters.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reportedly made the request when a delegation visited Washington in July. Washington is still considering the appeal.

Pointing to the threat that fighters from the Islamic State pose to the northern Iraq, the Kurds have asked the US to reinforce their own Peshmerga security forces.

The Islamic State has seized vast swathes of territory across Iraq, including the key northern city of Mosul which lies close to the border with Kurdish territory.

The Kurds have asked for tanks, sniper equipment, armoured personnel carriers, artillery and ammunition, as well as helmets, body armour, fuel trucks and ambulances, according to Reuters.

The Islamic State's rapid advance through northern Iraq has taken the central government by surprise, and its security forces have melted away.

The extremist group, which also fights in neighbouring Syria and practices an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam, has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the US.

However, the US may be wary of arming Kurdish forces who are seeking to break away from Iraq. Washington has reassured Baghdad that it supports its territorial boundaries and does not wish to see the country break up.

Kurdish leaders have instructed the semi-autonomous region's lawmakers to prepare for a referendum on independence.