US Reduces 2,200 Troops from Iraq
“We are continuing to develop our partner capacity programs that enable Iraqi forces and allow us to reduce our footprint in Iraq,” said the head of US Central Command, Frank McKenzie, during his visit to Iraq.
The US invaded Iraq in 2003 and left the country in 2011. However, the US then returned to Iraq in 2014 after ISIS took control of most of the country.
“In recognition of the great progress Iraqi forces have made and in consultation and coordination with the Iraqi government and our coalition partners, the United States has decided to reduce our troop presence in Iraq from about 5,200 to 3,000 troops during September,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie said the remaining US troops would later continue to advise and assist Iraqi security forces as they try to eradicate ISIS fighters.
“The US decision is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment to the ultimate goal, namely the Iraqi security forces that are able to prevent the rise of ISIS and secure Iraqi sovereignty without external assistance,” he said.
“The journey is difficult, the sacrifices are great, but the progress is significant,” he added.
Earlier US President Donald Trump would announce a further reduction of US troops from Iraq. That announcement will be followed by another announcement in the coming days for a reduction in US troops in Afghanistan.
The US and Iraq in June affirmed their commitment to a reduction in American troops in the country in the coming months, without Washington’s plans to maintain a permanent base or a permanent military presence.