US Military to Keep Troops in Iraq After Ending Combat

US Military to Keep Troops in Iraq After Ending Combat

( – Coalition forces, led by the United States, invaded Iraq in March 2003 to disarm Iraq and to free its citizens from the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. An Iraqi court sentenced Hussein to death in November 2006, and the war ended in 2011. However, US troops remained in the war-torn nation. After extensive negotiations, US military officials recently announced the formal end to combat missions, but not the end of troop deployment.

On December 9, Iraqi National Security Advisor Qasim al-Araji officially announced the end of coalition forced-led combat missions in Iraq. As he explained, the remaining forces would continue serving as advisors and trainers.

Coalition Commander Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie echoed the sentiment, adding that although the ISIS presence in Iraq was down, it wasn’t out. According to him, the militant group will “keep recreating itself, perhaps under a different name,” but the threat will remain. He said they want to work with Iraqi security forces to ensure the group doesn’t merge with other dangerous elements in the region.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby followed up with reporters during an off-camera press briefing. According to him, the shift to non-combat status doesn’t reflect a “significant posture change” in Iraq. Coalition forces have been working towards the change for a long time, and the number of remaining troops will remain at its current level of about 2,500 soldiers.

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