Biden and Iraqi PM announce end to US’s combat mission

Biden and Iraqi PM announce end to US’s combat mission
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President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi announced the United States's combat mission will cease at the end of the year.

The two leaders agreed to the policy shift, which will leave the remaining troops to act in an advisory capacity, during a Monday meeting in the Oval Office.

"We’re also committed to our security cooperation, our shared fight against ISIS is critical for the stability of the region, and our counterterrorism cooperation will continue, even as we shift to this new phase we’re going to be talking about," Biden said.

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He described the military's new mission in Iraq to be to "continue to train, to assist, to help, and to deal with ISIS as it arises, but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat zone."

"I'd like to thank the American people on behalf of all Iraq’s people,” Kadhim said. “Today, our nation is stronger than ever."

This move is largely symbolic, given the U.S. does not have “noncombat” troops, and the soldiers in Iraq don’t accompany local forces on their pursuit of the remnants of the Islamic State.

A senior administration official told reporters ahead of the meeting, “Iraq has requested, and we very much agree, that they need continued training; support with logistics, intelligence, advisory capacity building — all of which will continue.”

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Biden’s decision to alter military objectives in Iraq comes on the heels of his plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The anticipated end date for troops in Afghanistan is Aug. 31, which was moved up from the originally scheduled Sept. 11 end date.

The Biden administration also announced a deal to provide Iraq with 500,000 Pfizer coronavirus vaccines and $155 million in humanitarian assistance.

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Tags: News, Biden Administration, Joe Biden, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: Biden and Iraqi PM announce end to US’s combat mission

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