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Biden, Kadhimi agree to end U.S. combat mission in Iraq

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KADHIMI: "God bless our two countries."

U.S. President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi sealed an agreement on Monday to formally end the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021 - more than 18 years after U.S. troops were sent to the country.

With the withdrawal of the last American forces in Afghanistan set for the end of August, Biden will be completing U.S. combat missions in the two wars that former President George W. Bush began under his watch.

BIDEN: "Our role in Iraq will be as a, dealing with, not -- it's just to be available to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arrives. But we are not going to be by the end of the year in a combat mission."

Prime Minister Kadhimi praised Iraq’s current relationship with the U.S.

KADHIMI: "Today, our relation is stronger than ever... I'm looking forward to work with you, Mr. President, to bring our two countries more closer for the benefit of Iraq and the United States."

There are currently 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq and, in recent years, American forces focused on defeating and then countering the remnants of Islamic State militants.

A U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003 based on charges that then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. Saddam was ousted from power, but such weapons were never found.

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