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US to withdraw over 2,000 troops from Iraq

09 Sep 2020 TRT World

A top commander has said the remaining soldiers will continue to cooperate with Iraqi security forces in “rooting out the final remnants” of the Daesh terror group.

US troops walk as a US Army C-47 Chinook helicopter flies over the city of Mosul, February 22, 2017. (Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP)

The US will call back some 2,200 soldiers from Iraq by the end of September, a top commander has announced on Wednesday.

General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, told reporters that the number of US troops in Iraq will be brought down from about 5,200 to 3,000, according to the BBC.

He said the remaining soldiers will continue to cooperate with Iraqi security forces in “rooting out the final remnants” of Daesh. 

During a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhemi in August, Trump said American troops would leave Iraq but gave no timetable.

READ MORE: Trump reaffirms plan to withdraw all US troops from Iraq

The talks between the pair came while attacks on American targets by pro-Iranian militants are on the rise and the Iraqi government faces calls to expel the roughly 5,000 US troops deployed in the country as part of anti-militant efforts.

Push to move out troops in Iraq, Afghanistan

The US military withdrew from Iraq in late 2011, leaving a small mission attached to the US embassy.

But additional American forces were deployed a few years later to support Iraqi forces in their war against Daesh, which carried out a devastating offensive in the summer of 2014.

In Afghanistan the US currently has 8,600 soldiers in accordance with a bilateral agreement signed in February between Washington and the Taliban.

The Pentagon said in August that its goal was to get down to fewer than 5,000 troops as inter-Afghan peace talks progress.

READ MORE: US troop pullout from Afghanistan ahead of schedule

Trump previously mentioned in an interview with Axios that the White House aimed to reach 4,000 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan by the November presidential election.

Under the US-Taliban deal, all foreign troops must leave the country by the spring of 2021, in exchange for security commitments from the militants.

READ MORE: US begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, official says

Trump, who is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in the polls ahead of the November 3 election, has previously promised to bring troops home in a bid to end what he has called America's endless wars.

READ MORE: Why Iraqis differ on expelling US forces

READ MORE: US, Taliban to sign troop withdrawal deal in Qatar

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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