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US to Pull Combat Troops From Iraq

By the end of the year, under the agreement, the American role will have shifted to advisory
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2021 4:08 PM CDT
US to Pull Combat Troops From Iraq
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who's scheduled to visit the White House on Monday, arrives at the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis early this month.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(Newser) – The US and Iraq expect to announce next week that American combat troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year. The countries are working on a plan that would keep Americans there in an advisory role, to help with the fight against ISIS. "We don't need any more fighters because we have those," Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said, the Wall Street Journal reports. "What do we need? We need cooperation in the field of intelligence. We need help with training. We need troops to help us in the air." The details are still being worked out, but the change will be announced Monday after President Biden and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meet at the White House, per Politico.

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The number of Americans in Iraq might stay about the same—2,500—but the combat troops would be changed out, replaced by those who do other jobs. The idea is for them to help Iraq with tasks including logistical support, intelligence, and surveillance. The change could help Kadhimi politically in time for October's parliamentary elections. While the US is completing a total withdrawal from Afghanistan, it's still making long-term military plans with Iraq. The US has more faith in Iraq's troops than in Afghanistan's, who are losing ground rapidly to the Taliban. US troops first arrived in Iraq on 2004. The transition from combat began last summer, though no end date had been announced. A joint statement in April credited the change to the Iraqi forces being better able to handle the job now. (Read more Iraq stories.)

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