Washington [US], July 27 : Shifting the US foreign policy, President Joe Biden announced Monday the end of the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021 during a White House meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Biden is now winding down US prolonged military engagements that was launched by President George W. Bush in response to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
As the US-led invasion of Iraq is in eighteenth year, Biden said that role of the United States in Iraq will shift entirely to training and advising the Iraqi military to defend itself.
Biden said the new role for American troops in Iraq will be ”to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS (Islamic State group) as it arises, but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.”
Biden announced the decision as part of an ongoing “US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue” as he met Kadhimi in the Oval Office for their first face-to-face talks as part of a strategic dialogue between the United States and Iraq.
“We support strengthening Iraq’s democracy and we’re anxious to make sure the election goes forward in October,” Biden added as the plan to end the US combat mission of 18 years in Iraq follows Biden’s decision to withdraw fully from Afghanistan nearly 20 years.
“And we’re also committed to our security cooperation, our shared fight against ISIS. It’s critical for the stability of the region and our counter-terrorism cooperation will continue, even as we shift to this new phase we’re going to be talking about,” he added.
The US-Iraqi statement is expected to detail a number of non-military agreements related to health, energy and other matters.
“As this evolution continues, and as we formally end the combat mission and make clear that there are no American forces with a combat role in the country, Iraq has requested, and we very much agree, that they need continued training; support with logistics, intelligence, advisory capacity building — all of which will continue,” a senior official told reporters.
The U.S. troop presence has stood at about 2,500 since late last year when then-President Donald Trump ordered a reduction from 3,000.