By the end of the year, US combat troops will be out of Iraq, according to Vice President Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden acknowledged to reporters on Monday that the US combat operation in Iraq will finish by the end of the year, signifying an official shift in the country’s involvement in the fight against Islamic State terrorists in the country.
“By the end of the year, we won’t be in a combat mission,” Biden stated during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.
The fourth round of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, entitled the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, took place in Washington on Monday, the second of the Biden administration.
The White House has not offered any additional information on what it is broadly portraying as an endeavor to move to security and training missions—a “mission shift” that has been expected for some time and is fully supported by Iraq.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters that when the US initiated talks with Iraqi authorities, there were around 9,000 troops on the ground.
“We now have around 2,500 American troops in Iraq,” she stated. “Of course, we’re there at Iraq’s invitation to help the Iraqi Security Forces increase their capacity and battle ISIS.”
It’s unknown how many US troops will remain in Iraq, or whether individuals who are currently serving in combat duties would be transferred to the new strategic responsibilities.
“What is needed for the objective over time will drive the numbers,” Psaki said. “It’s more about shifting to a more advising and training capacity than we’ve had in recent years—what that’s the Iraqi leadership has expressed a desire to see on the ground.”
Specific details on the mission shift are still being worked out, according to Biden.
“Iraq has been a critical ally of the United States in the Middle East for some time now,” he said. “The sacrifices made by so many to develop the US-Iraq cooperation have been real and significant.”
Beau, the president’s late son, served in the Army National Guard in Iraq.
“The US-Iraq strategic conversation is about pledges that increase our cooperation on subjects like healthcare, climate change, and energy,” Biden said, adding that the US is providing half a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Iraq.
“All the blood and treasure that America has spent,” Al-Kadhimi acknowledged. This is a condensed version of the information.