US Starts Drawing Down Troops from Iraq

US Starts Drawing Down Troops from Iraq

Earlier Monday, The Associated Press and Reuters quoted an Iraqi government spokesman as saying USA forces were drawing down in the country following ISIS's defeat there.

On Monday, U.S. media reported that U.S. and Iraqi sources had confirmed the beginning of the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq, with soldiers and weaponry reassigned to Afghanistan.

The US-led coalition against the extremist group Islamic State (IS) says it will "shift its focus" in Iraq away from combat operations against the militants.

Over 5,000 USA troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces during the battles against IS militants.

USA officials say that while Islamic State has lost most of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria, there is concern about surviving fighters returning to insurgency tactics.

The contractors and officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations and declined to reveal the exact size of the drawdown.

American troops are leaving Iraq for Afghanistan as part of an agreement between Baghdad and the US-led coalition, contractors told AP.

Despite the reduced number of USA troops, ISIS remains a threat, according to American and Iraqi officials.

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That would leave some 4,000 U.S. troops to continue training the Iraqi military.

According to a coalition press release, the enduring US military presence in Iraq will be conditions-based and "proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq".

As Oil Price writes in the article Iraq Arrests ISIS Oil Chief Near Syrian Border, the Iraqi forces ambushed the convoy with which the top ISIS* terrorist-identified as Abdel-Ghani Zargham 'Abdel-Sama-was traveling through the town of Masada in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh.

The U.S. first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group in in August 2014.

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

The United States has more than 5,000 troops in Iraq.

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". In 2014, Daesh (IS) controlled almost a third of Iraqi territory.

While defeated on the battlefield, US military planners have expected ISIS to switch to insurgent tactics, carrying out high-profile terror attacks in Iraq. USA troop numbers eventually wound down to 40,000 before the complete withdrawal in 2011.

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