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US Forces In Iraq Set To End Combat Mission

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President Joe Biden will announce Monday the end of the U.S. military’s combat mission in Iraq, a Biden administration official told reporters.

Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi are expected to formally announce plans Monday to transition U.S. forces in Iraq from a combat role to a training and advisory role, the Biden administration official, who remained anonymous, said in a press briefing. Currently, the U.S. military’s mission in Iraq is to help stabilize areas liberated from ISIS following the terrorist group’s territorial defeat in December 2017, according to the State Department.

“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,” the official said in the briefing.

The U.S., which had first announced plans to transition to an advisory role in April, is set to complete the process by the end of the year, the official said. The announcement follows an Associated Press interview with al-Kadhimi on Sunday, in which the Iraqi prime minister expressed his intentions of ending U.S. combat activities in Iraq.

“There is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil,” al-Kadhmi told the AP.

The U.S has been slowly scaling back its presence in Iraq for years, with former President Donald Trump announcing plans to reduce troops in the country in November.

As part of its advisory role, the U.S. is set to provide COVID-19 pandemic aid to Iraq, as well as offer humanitarian assistance, according to the official.

“Given that we’re all dealing with the COVID crisis, and particularly Iraq has been hard-hit by COVID, we are delivering 500,000 Pfizer vaccines through COVAX to Iraq,” the official said.

The Biden administration will also provide funds to help the country run elections, and will offer assistance for Iraq to develop a renewable energy program.

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