United States forces begin reducing numbers in Iraq: Iraqi spokesman

Feb 07, 2018, 01:07
United States forces begin reducing numbers in Iraq: Iraqi spokesman

The move will lead to a realignment of some of the 5,600 USA forces in Iraq as they become an "enduring presence" in that country.

An Iraqi government spokesman said on Monday U.S. forces had begun reducing their numbers but some would remain.

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

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

On Monday, spokesperson for Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's office, Saad al-Hadithi confirmed to AP: "The US forces drawdown from Iraq has started after Baghdad announced its victory over ISIS". Some 4,000 USA troops will continue training Iraqi army.

Trump also said the mandate of US troops to target terrorists in Afghanistan would be expanded and approved sending an additional 4,000 troops to the country. Iraq was the first country in USA military history where they were forced to withdraw in accordance to the initial agreement for the forces withdrawal from that country.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh (IS) in December after more than three years of tough combat.

The drawdown also follows the release of the Pentagon's National Defense Strategy that cited China's rapidly expanding military and an increasingly aggressive Russian Federation as the USA military's top national security priorities.

Some reports suggest the area contains a militant group known as the "White Flag" which is comprised of Sunni fighters of various backgrounds fighting against Iraqi security forces, namely the Hashd al-Shaabi militias.

Kataib Hezbollah has strong links to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps and has threatened to attack USA forces several times in the past, describing their presence as an occupation. Gen. James Glynn told reporters during a Pentagon briefing last month.

The Iraqi government said Monday the USA military will reduce its troops in Iraq after the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) militant group in the country.

Hashemi added that part of the United States troops would be sent to Afghanistan.

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