US combat forces to leave Iraq by end of year

US combat forces to leave Iraq by end of year
Iraq's prime minister says there is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil. Source: ANADOLU AGENCY
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Daily US Times: President Joe Biden announced that US forces will end their combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year, but will continue to advise and train the Iraqi military.

The announcement came after the US president held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House.

There are currently 2,500 US soldiers in Iraq helping local forces counter what remains of the ISIS.

Numbers of US soldiers are likely to stay the same but the action is being seen as an attempt to help the Iraqi Prime Minister.

The US presence in the middle eastern country has become a major issue since top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and the leader of an Iran-backed Shia Muslim militia were killed in a US drone attack in the capital Baghdad last year.

Right after the killing of General Soleimani, political parties aligned to Iran have demanded the withdrawal of all international forces from the US-led global coalition against IS, despite the continuing threat posed by the jihadist group.

Shia militias have meanwhile been accused by the United States of carrying out hundreds of rocket, drone and mortar attacks on Iraqi military bases that host coalition forces in an apparent attempt to pressure them to leave.

For Mr Biden, the decision marks the end of another war that began under former President George W Bush. This year he said US soldiers would leave Afghanistan.

Mr Biden told his Iraqi counterpart while speaking at the White House, that “our counter-terrorism co-operation will continue even as we shift to this new phase.”

You may read: Record number of civilians killed in Afghanistan this year, UN reports