The US military mission in Iraq will be completed before the end of this year during a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Juma Inad, Pentagon confirmed on Saturday.
“The United States will uphold the commitments it made during the July 2021 US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, including that there will be no US forces with a combat role by the end of the year,” the Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Saturday.
This statement was made after US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met on November 20 with Minister Jumah Inad Sadun al-Jaburi, Iraq’s Minister of Defense, in Manama, Bahrain, during the annual Manama Dialogue.
Austin further confirmed to the Iraqi defence minister that American forces will remain in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government to support the country’s security forces, the statement said.
The sides also discussed the next stage of the US military mission in Iraq, which will focus on “advising, assisting, and sharing intelligence with the Iraqi Security Forces in support of the campaign to defeat ISIS,” the statement read.
The Pentagon chief again condemned the recent attack on the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi and expressed hope that the formation of the new government in Iraq will proceed peacefully.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Manama Dialogue international conference on regional security held annually in Bahrain.