USA to gradually reduce troops in Iraq

07 February, 2018, 01:09 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • State militants seized in Iraq the detainees being held after the fall of Raqqa in the Kurdish region of Syria fall into a leg

The drawdown of US forces comes just three months ahead of national elections in, where the indefinite presence of American troops continues to be a divisive issue.

American troops have started to draw down from Iraq following Baghdad's declaration of victory over the Islamic State group past year, according to western contractors at a US -led coalition base in Iraq.

Al-Hadithi explained that the agreement was reached "after the victory achieved by the Iraqi forces against the forces of terrorism", adding that the nature of the next phase requires a presence of another kind.

"Continued coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq", coalition spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon told AP.

Despite that information, the US military cites the official number of USA troops in Iraq as approximately 5,262.

The troops were part of the USA -led worldwide coalition that has also been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

Al-Hadithi stressed the drawdown is still in its early stages and at present does not mark the beginning of a complete withdrawal of US forces.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in December after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country, three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq's territory.

USA military personnel records made public last fall indicated that there may have been as many as 9,000 American troops in Iraq assisting with the advise-and-assist mission with the Iraqi military.

That would leave some 4,000 USA troops to continue training the Iraqi military.

The US first launched airstrikes against IS in Iraq in August 2014, as part of a military intervention which was initially described as "limited".

The United States has more than 5,000 troops in Iraq.

However, the Pentagon insists no drawdown is taking place.

In August 2017, President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy, in which he pledged to continue USA support for the Afghan government and military.

However, the Iraqi government said the process has not officially begun.

Daesh has been driven out by the Iraqi army, backed by a USA -led coalition, from territory overran by the terrorist group in northern and western Iraq in 2014. USA troop numbers eventually wound down to 40,000 before the complete withdrawal in 2011.



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