The U.S. will be withdrawing more than 2,000 troops from Iraq this month, according to a new announcement from a top U.S. general.
“In recognition of the great progress the Iraqi forces have made and in consultation and coordination with the government of Iraq and our coalition partners, the United States has decided to reduce our troop presence in Iraq from about 5,200 to 3,000 troops during the month of September,” Marine General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said during a visit to Iraq, according to an excerpt of his remarks provided to American Military News.
McKenzie explained that Iraqi forces, which have been trained by U.S. troops, are capable of fighting ISIS mostly on their own now. The remaining troops will continue “advising and assisting” Iraqi forces for now.
“We are continuing to expand on our partner capacity programs that enable Iraqi forces and allow us to reduce our footprint in Iraq,” McKenzie added.
An announcement from President Trump may be upcoming, as a senior administration official had told Reuters the president would be announcing the withdrawal of troops.
“The U.S. decision is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment to the ultimate goal, which is an Iraqi security force that is capable of preventing an ISIS resurgence and of securing Iraq’s sovereignty without external assistance,” McKenzie said. “The journey has been difficult, the sacrifice has been great, but the progress has been significant.”
Trump had met with the Iraqi prime minister last month and vowed once again to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Trump has repeatedly criticized the “endless wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan, and promised to put an end to them both.
Trump is also expected to announce the withdrawal of more U.S. troops from Afghanistan.