İrem UZUN -TDO- The U.S. commander in the Middle East announced Wednesday a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 in the month of September. "This reduced footprint allows us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS in Iraq and ensuring its enduring defeat," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, said.
During a visit to Baghdad, Gen McKenzie said the U.S. military had confidence in the Iraqi Security Forces' increased ability to operate independently and to deal with the continuing threat of ISIS, which once controlled huge swathes of Iraq. Gen McKenzie added the U.S. would continue expanding "partner capacity programs", and that its ultimate goal was having local forces who were capable of preventing a resurgence of ISIS and securing Iraq's sovereignty without help.
The U.S. and Iraq in June affirmed their commitment to the reduction of American troops in the country in coming months, with no plans by Washington to maintain permanent bases or a permanent military presence. Late Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters on board Air Force One that such an announcement was coming and an announcement on the withdrawal of additional troops from Afghanistan also could be expected in the coming days.