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Trump administration to withdraw 1,200 U.S. troops from Iraq

Trump denies comments about service members
Trump denies comments about service members 08:11

Washington —  The U.S. will be pulling 1,200 troops from Iraq during the month of September as part of President Trump's efforts to follow through on his oft-repeated campaign promise to bring home American service members and end so-called "endless wars."

General Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, announced the number of troops in Iraq would be reduced from roughly 5,200 to 3,000. He made the announcement during a change of command ceremony for Operation Inherent Resolve alongside Iraq's minister of defense.

"This reduced footprint allows us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS in Iraq and ensuring its enduring defeat," McKenzie said. "This decision is due to our confidence in the Iraqi Security Forces' increased ability to operate independently."

He added that the decision to pull 1,200 troops from Iraq is a "clear demonstration of our continued commitment to the ultimate goal, which is an Iraqi Security Force that is capable of preventing an ISIS resurgence and of securing Iraq's sovereignty without external assistance."

A senior administration official teased the drawdown to reporters on Air Force One on Tuesday and said another announcement about Afghanistan is expected in the coming days.

Mr. Trump made ending "endless wars" a key campaign promise when he ran for president in 2016, and he has sought to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Syria during his first term. The Trump administration also announced in July it would be pulling 12,000 troops from Germany.

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