Iraq PM: No US combat troops to stay in Iraq after IS

Iraq PM: No US combat troops to stay in Iraq after IS

Iraq PM: No US combat troops to stay in Iraq after IS

Iraq's Prime Minister says no USA combat troops will stay in Iraq after the fight against the Islamic State is concluded.

Iraqi troops above inspect an IS tunnel used by fighters who have been ready to conduct suicide attacks against government soldiers.

They will join troops pushing into the Old City area from the south. Government forces launched a major offensive to recapture Mosul, the last major urban stronghold of Isis in Iraq, in October.

"In early 2016, the posture of our force, the authority granted to our units, the capabilities of Iraqi security forces, and the effectiveness of ISIS were all very different versus January [2017]", said Col. Brett Sylvia, the brigade commander. Both nations are seeking favorable terms under a status of forces agreement, or SOFA, which would spell out legal protections for U.S. forces stationed in Iraq.

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There is a "general understanding on both sides that it would be in the long-term interests" of Washington and Baghdad to keep a "continued presence" within Iraq's borders, a United States official told Stars and Stripes.

At the end of March, the Pentagon announced it was sending an "unspecified" number of troops from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division to bolster Iraqi security forces in their months-long siege of the strategically important city of Mosul.

An American company helping secure the Iraqi base where F-16 fighter jets battle the Islamic State group turned a blind eye to alcohol smuggling, theft, security violations and allegations of sex trafficking.

On Thursday, U.S. Special Operations Command chief Gen. Raymond Thomas refused to characterize the Afghan War as a stalemate, but did question the level of commitment to the war effort by the Obama administration.

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The Iraqi army said on April 30 that it aimed to complete the battle for Mosul, the largest city to have fallen under ISIS control, in both Iraq and Syria, this month.

He said they will work to train Iraq's security forces to maintain "full readiness" for any "future security challenges".

Jafar al-Husseini, a representative from the Kataib Hezbollah militia - who are closely linked to Iran - said the army and paramilitaries were strong enough to defend Iraq themselves.

"Our support to the government of Iraq is going to remain the same type of relationship that we continued with them throughout the [ISIS] campaign", he told reporters during a briefing from Baghdad.

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Over the almost three-year-long fight against IS, Iraqi forces closely backed by the US -led coalition have retaken some 65 percent of the territory the extremists once held in the country, according to the USA -led coalition.

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