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President Biden announces end of US combat mission in Iraq

Joe Biden, Mustafa al-Kadhimi
Posted at 4:20 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 18:20:15-04

President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday announced that they’ve agreed to end the U.S. military’s combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year.

The plan is to shift the American military mission, whose stated purpose is to help Iraq defeat the Islamic State group, to a strictly advisory and training role by year’s end — with no U.S. troops in a combat role.

"We support strengthening Iraq's democracy and we're anxious to make sure the election goes forward in October," Biden said while sitting next to al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office. "And we're also committed to our security cooperation, our shared fight against ISIS."

The announcement to end the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, while it may not result in a substantial troop reduction, comes on the heels of Biden's decision to fully withdraw from Afghanistan nearly 20 years after President George W. Bush launched that war in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Less than two years later, Bush started the war in Iraq. Biden has vowed to continue counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East but shift more attention to China as a long-term security challenge.

The U.S. and Iraq agreed in April that the U.S. transition to a train-and-advise mission meant the U.S. combat role would end, but they didn't settle on a timetable for completing that transition.

The U.S. troop presence has stood at about 2,500 since late last year when former President Donald Trump ordered a reduction from 3,000.

This story originally reported by Jay Strubberg on Newsy.com.