DECEMBER 9, 2022
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Pentagon Denies Immediate Troop Withdrawal from Iraq Despite Baghdad's Announcement

Pentagon Denies Immediate Troop Withdrawal from Iraq Despite Baghdad's Announcement

The Pentagon stated on Monday that it currently has no plans to withdraw its approximately 2,500 troops from Iraq, despite the recent announcement by the Iraqi government about initiating the process of removing the U.S.-led military coalition from the country.

Air Force Major General Patrick Ryder, during a news briefing, clarified that there are no plans for withdrawal at the moment, emphasizing the continued focus on the mission to defeat ISIS. He mentioned that U.S. forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government.

Ryder noted that he is not aware of any notification from Baghdad to the Department of Defense regarding a decision to remove U.S. troops. He referred reporters to the U.S. State Department for any diplomatic discussions on the matter.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's office had announced the intention to evict U.S. forces following a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad, which the Iraqi government condemned. The Pentagon attributed the strike to targeting a militia leader responsible for recent attacks on U.S. personnel.

Sudani's office stated that a committee would be formed to "put arrangements to end the presence of the international coalition forces in Iraq permanently," emphasizing the firm position to end the coalition's existence after the justifications for its presence have ended. The recent U.S. strike has triggered outrage among Iran-aligned groups, leading to renewed calls for the government to terminate the coalition's presence in Iraq.

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