The headquarters overseeing U.S. and Coalition ground forces in Iraq closed on Monday, marking the end of major combat operations against ISIS in the country, the Hill reported.
The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command (CJFLCC) was ceremoniously deactivated in Baghdad, which included a casing of the colors.
The event signified “the end of major combat operations against ISIS” in Iraq and “the changing composition and responsibilities of the Coalition,” according to a statement by military officials.
On the important event, Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, former commanding general of the headquarters, said: “Casing the CJFLCC Colors is a symbolic gesture, honoring the perseverance and sacrifice of our Coalition partners. Thanks to our partnered success, we are able to continue our support to the government of Iraq under the unified command of CJTF-OIR.”
The commands’ authorities were transferred to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the headquarters that oversees all anti-ISIS operations, including airstrikes.
The ground troops were stationed at the command in order to advise, equip and assist Iraq’s military in an effort to regain about one-third of Iraqi territory that had been claimed by ISIS. While they were not involved in active combat, they operated surveillance drones and coordinated battlefield logistics with Iraqi commanders.
Iraqi Security Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool Abdullah was appreciative of the Coalition’s continued efforts.
“The commitment and professionalism of all the men and women from all the Coalition nations has been of the highest order, and Iraq is immensely grateful for their sacrifice and dedication in this task,” Abdullah said in a statement.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory against ISIS in Iraq back in December, though U.S.-led operations have continued in the country in order to further eliminate the remnants of the terror group and prevent any resurgence.
While Pentagon officials have said that they hope to move troops and equipment from Iraq to Afghanistan, Abdullah confirmed that U.S.-led operations in his country will likely continue for some time.
“We look forward to taking the partnership forward with the Combined Joint Task Force and a friendship that will endure for years to come,” Abdullah said.
The Pentagon did not provide any updated deployment statistics, stating only that the ground mission has been “consolidated under a single headquarters, reflecting the Coalition’s commitment to eliminate unnecessary command structures.”
American officials have largely kept troop numbers hidden from the public for fear of impacting the upcoming Iraqi elections scheduled for May.