United States formally announces troop reduction in Iraq

USA & World

United States formally announces troop reduction in Iraq

The United States military on Wednesday announced it will reduce its presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 troops this month, formalising a move that had been long expected.

“We are continuing to expand on our partner capacity programmes that enable Iraqi forces and allow us to reduce our footprint in Iraq,” Marine General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said during a visit to Iraq.

The United States and Iraq in June affirmed their commitment to the reduction of American troops in the country in coming months, with no plans by Washington to maintain permanent bases or a permanent military presence.

The United States has about 5,200 troops that were deployed in Iraq to fight the armed group ISIL (ISIS. Officials in the US-led coalition say Iraqi forces are now mostly able to handle the ISIL remnants on their own.

Late Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters aboard Air Force One that such an announcement was coming and an announcement on the withdrawal of additional troops from Afghanistan also could be expected in the coming days.

‘Endless wars’

In 2016 Trump campaigned on ending America’s “endless wars” but US troops remain in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, albeit in smaller numbers.

Last month during a meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, Trump redoubled his promise to withdraw the US troops still in Iraq.

Trump’s meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister

Mustafa Al-Kadhimi

came amid a new spike in tensions between Washington and Tehran after Washington said it would seek to reinstate all previously suspended US sanctions on Iran at the United Nations.

Iraq’s parliament voted earlier this year for the departure of foreign troops from Iraq, and United States and other coalition troops have been leaving as part of a drawdown.

In 2016 Trump campaigned on ending America’s “endless wars” but US troops remain in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, albeit in smaller numbers.

Last month during a meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, Trump redoubled his promise to withdraw the US troops still in Iraq.

Trump’s meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi came amid a new spike in tensions between Washington and Tehran after Washington said it would seek to reinstate all previously suspended US sanctions on Iran at the United Nations.

Iraq’s parliament voted earlier this year for the departure of foreign troops from Iraq, and United States and other coalition troops have been leaving as part of a drawdown.