Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Qadimi has said his country no longer needs US troops to fight the so-called Islamic State, but a formal timetable for regrouping them will depend on upcoming talks with US officials early next week.
Al-Qadimi told US media that Iraq would continue to seek US assistance in training and military intelligence.
The Iraqi Prime Minister will leave for Washington tomorrow, where he is to meet with US President Joe Biden, with whom he will lead the fourth round of strategic negotiations, US media report.
“There is no need for any foreign troops on Iraqi soil,” the Iraqi official said, adding that Iraqi security forces and the military were capable of defending the country without US-led coalition forces.
Al-Qadimi added that the possible withdrawal of US troops would be based on the needs of Iraqi forces, who last year showed they could conduct independent missions against Islamic State on their own.
“The war against IS and the readiness of our forces require a special time frame, and that will depend on the negotiations we conduct in Washington,” al-Kadimi added.
The United States and Iraq agreed in April that moving to a training and advisory mission would mean the end of the US military’s combat role in the country, but they did not agree on a timeline when the mission transition would be complete.
At tomorrow’s meeting at the White House, Biden and al-Qadimi are expected to specify this timeframe, which is likely to be by the end of the year.
The United States has detained about 2,500 troops in Iraq since late last year, on the orders of former President Donald Trump.