The United States military announced a long-expected decision to cut back on their deployed troops in Iraq from 5,200 to 3000 this month. This formal decision was announced by the head of US Central Command, Marine General Frank McKenzie in an official statement on Wednesday. “We are continuing to expand on our partner capacity programmes that enable Iraqi forces and allow us to reduce our footprint in Iraq,” he said during a visit to the country.
This confirms the growing commitment of the two countries in the reduction of American troops in the upcoming months with no plans being disclosed by Washington to sustain a permanent base of military presence in Iraq.
The United States of America had initially deployed 5,200 troops to fight the armed group ISIL also known as ISIS. However, according to the US-led coalition, the Iraqi forces are in better control of the situation currently and are strategically handling the ISIL remnants on their own.
The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent withdrawal was followed by further deployment to help combat the country’s growing concerns with ISIS. McKenzie in his address also stated that the remaining US forces will continue to assist and advise Iraqi security forces in their mission to uproot ISIL fighters from the country. He said that this decision is a clear demonstration of taking steps to create an Iraqi security force that is capable of preventing an ISIS resurgence and securing the country’s sovereignty without any external assistance.
It was also announced that the troop levels in Afghanistan would drop to 4,500 by November. However, this timeline would depend on the military’s ability to gather equipment out of the country.