US to keep troops in Iraq: Austin

Published March 8, 2023
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Baghdad, Iraq on March 7, 2023. —  Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via Reuters
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Baghdad, Iraq on March 7, 2023. — Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via Reuters

BAGHDAD: US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, making an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday nearly 20 years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, said Washington was committed to keeping its military presence in the country.

The 2003 invasion led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and created instability that eventually paved the way for the rise of Islamic State militants after the US withdrew its forces in 2011.

“US forces are ready to remain in Iraq at the invitation of the government of Iraq,” Mr Austin told reporters after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2023

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