US to continue reducing troops in Iraq in the coming months

Last Modified Friday, 12 June 2020 (12:28 IST)
Washington:United States will continue reducing its military presence in over the coming months, a joint statement issued by the US and Iraq has said.
The two countries will also discuss the status of remaining forces in the months ahead, according to a statement following the US-Iraq strategic dialogue held virtually on Thursday.
US Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, who participated in the dialogue, told media earlier that Washington was considering a possible force reduction but emphasised that there was no discussion of the timeline for it.
 
The statement reiterated that the United States does not seek permanent bases and military presence in the country. For its part, the Iraq government committed to protecting the military personnel of the international coalition and the Iraq facilities hosting them.
 
US-Iraq relations have been under strain since early January, when US military killed Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, in an airstrike near the Baghdad airport.
 
The US airstrike prompted the Iraq parliament on January 5 to pass a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq.
 
The military bases housing US across Iraq and other US facilities have been frequently targeted by mortar and rocket attacks in recent months.
 
More than 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraq forces in the battles against the Islamic State militants, mainly providing training and advice to the latter's forces.(UNI)