U.S. troops will leave Iraq by end of 2021

July 23, 2021 - 12:13

Top Iraqi and U.S. officials plan to issue a statement calling for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by year-end, officials from the two countries have said.

“We don’t need any more fighters because we have those,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Thursday.

“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 foreign minister said.

The statement is to be issued in connection with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s visit to Washington on Monday, when he will meet with President Joe Biden.

According to the American newspaper, the purpose of the statement, current and former officials said, is to enable the Iraqi leader to blunt the political pressure from Shiite factions who want all of the approximately 2,500 American troops in the country to depart, while maintaining U.S. support for Iraqi security forces.

The Iraqi parliament approved a legislation in January 2020 calling for the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq.  The legislation followed the U.S. assassination of Iran's anti-terror commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) upon a direct order of former U.S. President Donald Trump.   

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