The U.S. military leadership has announced that this month U.S. forces will reduce their presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 troops, France-Presse reports.
“We continue to expand our partnership programs to build Iraq’s defensive capabilities, which allow us to reduce our (military) presence in Iraq,” General Frank Mackenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command (Middle East area of responsibility), said during a visit to Baghdad today, Sept. 9.
Thus, the U.S. general’s representative confirmed earlier media reports that President Donald Trump will soon officially announce the drawdown of the U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
About 5,200 U.S. troops are currently deployed at the bases in Iraq as part of the ongoing operation of coalition forces led by the U.S. against the remnants of the terrorist group DAISH (“Islamic State”, IG, IGIL – banned in Russia). A U.S. official said on condition of anonymity last month that the Pentagon is expected to reduce its troops in Iraq “by about a third in the coming months.
The U.S. military currently deploys about 8,600 soldiers and officers in Afghanistan. Trump said in an interview with Axios last month that the U.S. plans to reduce that number to 4,000.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi visited Washington last month to talk to Donald Trump about “the challenges of increasing stability and security in the Middle East,” according to official press releases. One of the main topics of the talks at the time was the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraqi territory deployed there as part of the coalition mission to combat the ISGIL. Representatives of the Trump administration said after the Iraqi prime minister’s visit that there is no precise timetable for further reducing the U.S. military presence in Iraq, but that question is “part of the discussion, as Baghdad’s security needs are being assessed and what the United States can do about that.