Foreign forces to leave Iraq in 15 days, says army

Majority of troops have departed the country as Baghdad and Washington appear committed to security deal

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maya Alleruzzo/AP/Shutterstock (7049094a)
An Iraqi Army soldier and a U.S. Army soldiers from Delta Co., 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment stand guard during a joint patrol in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. Two U.S. soldiers were killed, by an Iraqi trooper who opened fire on them during a training exercise Saturday, raising fresh concerns about Iraq's security forces as the Americans prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of this year. Another soldier was killed Saturday during a military operation in central Iraq, making it one of the deadliest days for U.S. forces in the country in months
Iraq US Troops, MOSUL, Iraq
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US combat troops stationed in Iraq are scheduled to leave the country in 15 days, the Iraqi army's spokesman said on Thursday.

Baghdad and Washington announced in July that the full withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq would be completed by the end of this year. Training and advising missions, however, would continue.

There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq helping local forces counter what remains of ISIS, with the vast majority of US forces helping to train Iraqi forces.

Iraqi Maj Gen Tahsin Al Khafaji, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, told the state Iraqi news agency that “foreign forces are expected to leave Iraq within 15 days, except for those whose mission has turned to advise and support the Iraqi security forces.”

“Most of the combat forces have left Iraq, and only advisers and those working in the field of intelligence, training and advice remain,” he said.

Gen Al Khafaji said the US and Iraq are abiding by the deal made.

“Talks about extending the date for the withdrawal of American forces are inaccurate and incorrect, and the date for the departure of combat forces … is fixed and there is no change in it,” he said.

“The relationship between the two parties after the departure of the combat forces will be an advisory relationship in the fields of training, armament, intelligence and security information against the terrorist organisation ISIS,” he added.

Since 2014, the US has led an international coalition in Iraq to fight ISIS.

The Iraqi military official said there will be a schedule made for delivering weapons and equipment to the combat forces.

In an interview with The National last week, Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Fuad Hussein said his country’s security forces were ready to fight ISIS alone.

“The American presence in Iraq is very small, in fact the existence of American combat forces will not affect the whole security situation,” he said.

“This means that the fight against ISIS can be done also by Iraqi forces themselves,” the Iraqi minister said.

However, Mr Hussein said that Baghdad will still need some support.

Updated: November 25, 2021, 4:10 PM