Anti-IS coalition ends combat mission in Iraq

Published December 10, 2021
A Dutch military officer stands outside the Joint Operations Centre in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's “Green Zone” on Thursday. — AFP
A Dutch military officer stands outside the Joint Operations Centre in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's “Green Zone” on Thursday. — AFP

BAGHDAD: The US-led coalition against the militant Islamic State (IS) group has ended its combat mission in Iraq and will shift to a training and advisory role, Iraq’s national security adviser said on Thursday.

The change in the mission of around 2,500 US troops stationed in the war-battered country by the end of the year was first announced in July by President Joe Biden, during a Washington visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi.

The Iraqi government has been under pressure from powerful pro-Iranian political groups with armed wings that have vehemently demanded all US troops leave the country.

“We are officially announcing the end of the coalition forces’ combat mission,” National Security Adviser Qassem al-Aaraji wrote on Twitter.

“The relationship with the international coalition continues in the areas of training, advising and capacity building” of Iraqi forces, he added.

Mr Aaraji was speaking after a meeting between the coalition and the Joint Operations commanders of the Iraqi security forces.

In effect, the about 2,500 US and 1,000 coalition troops deployed in Iraq will remain there. They have been acting as advisers and trainers since mid-2020.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2021

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