World

US combat forces to leave Iraq by end of year

US President Joe Biden has announced that American combat forces will leave Iraq by the end of this year, though troops will continue to train and advise the Iraqi military. The announcement of ending US military’s combat mission came after Mr Biden held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House yesterday.

US President alongside the Iraqi Prime Minister said, we support strengthening Iraq’s democracy and we are anxious to make sure the election goes forward in October. We are also committed to our security cooperation, our shared fight against ISIS, he added. Mr Biden told the Iraqi prime minister our counter-terrorism co-operation will continue even as we shift to this new phase. Mr Kadhimi responded, today our relationship is stronger than ever. He has insisted no foreign combat troops are needed in Iraq.

There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq. US-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003 to overthrow President Saddam Hussein and eliminate weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist. US combat troops eventually withdrew in 2011. However, they returned at the request of the Iraqi government three years later, when ISIS group overran large parts of the country.

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