Sat 20 November 2021:
During a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Juma Inad on Saturday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that the US military mission in Iraq will be completed by the end of the year, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
“The United States will uphold the commitments it made during the July 2021 U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, including that there will be no U.S. forces with a combat role by the end of the year,” the official statement said.
According to the statement, Austin also confirmed to the Iraqi defense minister that American personnel will remain in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government to support the country’s security forces.
The parties also discussed the next phase of the US military engagement in Iraq, which will focus on “advising, aiding, and sharing intelligence with Iraqi Security Forces in support of the effort to defeat ISIS,” according to the statement.
The Pentagon commander criticized the recent attack on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi’s residence and expressed hope that the creation of Iraq’s new government will be peaceful.
The discussion was held on the sidelines of the annual Manama Dialogue international conference on regional security in Bahrain.
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