White House Confirms US Forces in Iraq to Be Shifted From Combat to Training, Silent on Troop Totals

World

The United States has about 2,500 troops in Iraq, with its forces deployed in the country for much of the past two decades following the 2003 invasion. Troops were temporarily withdrawn in 2011, only to return after the rise of the Daesh (ISIS)* terrorist “caliphate.” Baghdad announced Daesh’s defeat in 2017, but US forces have remained ever since.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has confirmed to reporters Monday that US troop numbers in Iraq would be ‘aligned’ based on a change of mission from combat to training support.

The spokeswoman declined to provide details on how many troops total the US expects to have in Iraq by the end of the year.

Earlier, a senior administration source told AP that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi and US President Joe Biden would announce an agreement Monday to end the US military’s combat presence in Iraq by the end of 2021.

The announcement is expected to be made later on Monday from the White House, where al-Khadimi and Biden are set to meet to discuss the strategic partnership between the two countries.

AP’s source said the administration feels that Iraqi’s security forces have been “battle tested” and proven “capable” in defending the country. The White House continues to consider Daesh as a “considerable threat,” they said.

In an interview on Sunday, al-Khadimi stressed that Baghdad does not need any US or other foreign combat troops on its soil to…

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