Carter takes first trip to Iraq as DOD chief

Carter takes first trip to Iraq as DOD chief
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter touched down in Iraq for the first time in his tenure Thursday as the country looks to retake a crucial city from Islamic militants.

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The Associated Press reports that he spent about 20 minutes watching Iraqi soldiers training, where he praised their fight and offered support from America.

“Your forces have performed so very well, so very bravely,” he said, according to the AP.

“And I know that you have suffered great losses too, but I just wanted to tell you that it is very clear to us in Washington what a capable force this is. So it's a privilege for us to be your partners."

The AP adds that Carter is not expected to announce any major policy shift during the visit, which comes months after the Defense secretary questioned the soldiers’ “will to fight” after a major loss in the city of Ramadi.

The government in Baghdad has announced a counteroffensive to retake the city.