US expected to reduce troops in Iraq by a third to about 3,500: official

From 5,200 currently
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army soldiers from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force-Iraq, man a defensive position at Forward Operating Base Union III in Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019. U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Desmond Cassell/Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs/Handout via REUTERS

1069 View

+ -

SULAIMANI — The United States is expected to reduce its troops presence in Iraq by about a third in the coming months, a US official said on Friday (August 28), a move that had been expected after President Donald Trump’s administration committed to a reduction recently.

The United States has around 5,200 troops that were deployed in Iraq to fight the Islamic State militant group. Officials in the US-led coalition say Iraqi forces are now mostly able to handle the remnants of Islamic State on their own.

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

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

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States would go down to about 3,500 troops in Iraq in the next two to three months.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

Trump’s meeting with the Iraqi leader 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 had 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.

The numbers of troops to be withdrawn was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

(NRT Digital Media/Reuters)