Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office Announces Discussions with U.S. on Troop Withdrawal

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi and U.S. Special Envoy Brett McGurk discussed the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq today, his office said.

A statement issued by al-Kadhemi’s office said the two sides “discussed mechanisms for the withdrawal of (U.S.) combat troops from Iraq and moving toward a new phase of strategic cooperation.”

McGurk is the White House coordinator for the Middle East and Africa.

About 3,500 foreign troops, including 2,500 Americans, remain in Iraq. These men have been on the ground since 2014 to help fight the militant group Islamic State (IS).

Hademi is expected to visit Washington, D.C., later this month to facilitate a specific timetable for the withdrawal. But implementing the withdrawal could take years.

In recent months, an increasing number of rockets and drones have targeted U.S.-linked targets in Iraq for attack.

Iraq has long served as a battleground between the United States and Iran. The statement from Hademi’s office comes just a day after a meeting between senior Iraqi and Iranian security officials.