Iraq announces withdrawal of all US-led coalition combat troops
The Iraqi government has formally announced that all combat troops from the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State extremist group have left the country, two days after a similar announcement from the coalition.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Twitter that the US-led coalition would now only be present in Iraq to "advise and assist".
"The Coalition have fully completed their combat role after transfer of personnel and material outside Iraq. Going forward, their role will be to advise and assist our security forces per the outcome of the Strategic Dialogue," his tweet read.
The Coalition have fully completed their combat role after transfer of personnel and material outside Iraq. Going forward, their role will be to advise and assist our security forces per the outcome of the Strategic Dialogue.— Mustafa Al-Kadhimi مصطفى الكاظمي (@MAKadhimi) December 29, 2021
"We thank the leadership of the Coalition, its members, our partners and neighbours in combating Daish and reaffirm that our security forces stand ready to defend our people," the prime minister added.
Last Monday, the coalition announced that all its combat troops had left Iraq on 9 December, adding that this came in advance a deadline agreed by the US and Iraq in July 2021.
"This early transition was possible because of the great advancements made by Iraqi security forces, including the peshmerga, in their capacity to lead fighting against terrorist IS gangs," a coalition statement to the Iraqi News Agency said.
IS lost all the territory it once held in Iraq in 2017, but retains some capability to carry out attacks in the country.