BAGHDAD – US combat troops stationed in Iraq are scheduled to leave the country in 2 weeks, 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 remaining in Iraq. Iraqi Major General Tahsin Al Khafaji, the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, told the Iraqi state news agency that foreign forces are expected to leave Iraq within 2 weeks, 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,” Major General Al Khafaji said.
General Al Khafaji said the US and Iraq are abiding by the deal made.
“Claims 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,” General 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 of forces in Iraq. 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.