Iraq

Biden: US Combat Mission In Iraq To Finish This Year

US President Joe Biden said American forces would remain in the country to train and assist Iraqi forces, but did not specify how many.

President Joe Biden has said the US military's combat mission in Iraq will conclude by the end of the year.

The move will also set out a more precise timeline for American forces to formally step back in their fight against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq.

The plan to shift the US military mission to a strictly advisory and training one will be set out in a broader message set to be delivered after Mr Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday afternoon.

"We're not going to be by the end of the year in a combat mission," said Mr Biden.

The President noted US forces will remain in the country to train and assist Iraqi forces.

"Our shared fight against Isis is critical for the stability of the region and our counterterrorism co-operation will continue even as we shift to this new phase that we're going to be talking about," he added.

Mr Biden did not say how many US troops would remain in the country when the combat mission is formally completed.

British and NATO forces have been drawing down from Afghanistan since May (Picture: MOD).

The US troop presence has stood at about 2,500 since late last year when then-US President Donald Trump ordered a reduction from 3,000.

As well as carrying out Operation Shader, the UK's contribution to the US-led mission against so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Britain also has troops on the ground in the country, providing training and equipment to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Kurdish Security Forces (KSF).

The British Army's Welsh Guards are currently deployed in Iraq offering that support,with no change expected to UK personnel or operations.

It comes after President Biden announced at the beginning of July that the US would finish its military operations in Afghanistan on 31 August.

The UK's mission in Afghanistan, Operation Toral, began drawing to a close at the beginning of the month – bringing 20 years of British involvement in the country close to an end.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was not abandoning its commitment to Afghanistan, adding that the UK would continue to support the Afghan government with more than £100m in development aid and £58m for the Afghan security forces.

However, a former Chief of the General Staff, told Forces News Afghanistan is facing a potential civil war as Western troops neared the completion of their withdrawal.