AP Interview: PM says Iraq doesn’t need US combat troops

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi poses in his office during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, July 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi are set to announce that they’ve come to an agreement to end the U.S. military’s combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year.

That’s according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The American military mission’s stated purpose was to help Iraq defeat the Islamic State group. Al-Kadhimi said his country no longer requires U.S. combat troops but a formal time frame for redeployment will depend on the outcome of talks with Washington this coming week.

He said Iraq’s security forces and its army are capable of defending the country without the U.S.-led coalition troops. He adds that Iraq will still ask for continued U.S. training and military intelligence gathering.

The plan to will be spelled out in a broader communique to be issued by the two leaders following their White House meeting on Monday.

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