U.S. to gradually reduce troops in Iraq

by Garry Watts February 7, 2018, 1:08
U.S. to gradually reduce troops in Iraq

"So we are moving more from those combat operations, big heavy guns [and] killing ISIS (Daesh) to more training for sustainability, to help Iraqi security forces in the long term", he said, adding there is not going to be a significant drawdown in USA troop numbers as the USA media claims. An Iraqi government spokesman says this means a gradual troop reduction.

"We will retain an appropriate amount of capabilities as well as an advisory presence to continue training, advising, and equipping our partners in the continued fight against Daesh", it said, referring to the IS group by one of its Arabic acronyms. He spoke to the AP on Monday afternoon in Baghdad.

At the height of the dispute in 2014, ISIS controlled nearly a third of Iraqi territory, but in December a year ago, Iraq declared victory over the terrorist faction, reclaiming the last areas along the border with Syria.

Iraqi forces backed by a US -led worldwide coalition past year captured all the territory that fell under Islamic State control in 2014 and 2015, including the northern city of Mosul, which served as the militants' de facto capital.

The drawdown of USA forces comes just three months ahead of national elections in, where the indefinite presence of American troops continues to be a divisive issue.

The transport of crude was supposed to begin last week, but oil officials in Iraq said the delay was "technical in nature", Reuters reported.

An AP reporter at the Al-Asad base in western saw troop movements reflecting the contractors' account.

The claim that resources were being redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan is significant, as America's longest running war in that country has failed to stop both Taliban and ISIS extremists from seizing territory in recent years.

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"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. The presence of U.S. troops grew, however, as Iraq's military struggled to roll back the extremists.

At that time Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to extend the stay of U.S. troops in the country despite Washington's requests.

The US first launched airstrikes against IS in Iraq in August 2014, as part of a military intervention which was initially described as "limited".

In August 2017, President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy, in which he pledged to continue USA support for the Afghan government and military.

Human Rights Watch said in December that hundreds of detainees held by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk were feared to have been "forcibly disappeared".

Iraqi special forces raided a hideout of Daesh militants in al-Bir town, 45 kilometers southeast of Mosul upon a tip-off from local residents, Lieutenant-Colonel Abdel-Salam al-Jabouri told Anadolu Agency. At a press briefing last month U.S. Marine Corps Brig.

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

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