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Trump administration to withdraw more troops from Iraq

Trump administration to withdraw more troops from Iraq
© Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

The Trump administration plans to announce further troop drawdowns in Iraq on Wednesday.

A senior administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One late Tuesday to expect an announcement Wednesday on further troop withdrawals from Iraq. The Trump administration is also expected to make an announcement on Afghanistan in the coming days, the official said.

President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE has campaigned on bringing back American service members from what he describes as “endless wars” abroad. News of the impending announcements comes not two months from the November presidential election.

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The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East said last month that the current 5,200 troops in Iraq and Syria would likely be reduced in future months, but he did not provide a specific number. The New York Times reported that troops could be reduced to about 3,500.

The impending announcement comes on the heels of Trump’s meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi last month. In response to a question on attacks on U.S. interests in Iraq over the past 10 months, Trump at the time made clear he hoped to completely withdraw American troops from the country but did not provide a specific timeline.

“We have been taking our troops out of Iraq fairly rapidly, and we look forward to the day when we don’t have to be there. And hopefully Iraq can live their own lives and they can defend themselves, which they’ve been doing long before we got involved,” Trump told reporters.

The Trump administration inked a deal with the Taliban in February aimed at helping bring to an end the near two-decade conflict in Afghanistan to allow U.S. forces to reduce their presence there. Talks between the Taliban and Afghan government, which was not a party to the February deal, are expected to begin this week.