Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on the US to reduce its military presence in Iraq as Washington has begun a surge of troops in the face of Daesh terrorists facing a final rout in the country.
“As we are crushing Daesh, it is clear that there is a need to reduce the number of our allies who are helping us,” Abadi told the Middle East Eye news portal.
He made the remarks ahead of his visit to Washington to meet US President Donald Trump.
“Daesh is about to collapse and is on the verge of defeat. Their family members are fleeing,” he said.
Abadi, however, noted that Baghdad wants the US to expand its training of the Iraqi army, federal police and local police.
“We have to strengthen our armed forces and security forces and this will need a lot of help from our allies to give proper training,” the Iraqi premier said.
The United States withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011 but redeployed several thousand as part of a “coalition” which is mainly aiding Iraqi Kurds in their autonomous regions. The US currently has about 5,000 troops in Iraq.
The Iraqi premier’s comments came in the face of US plans to boost its military presence both in Iraq and neighboring Syria, where Washington claims it is fighting Daesh.
On Wednesday, the American paper the Army Times said the US is deploying 2,500 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Kuwait to take part in “anti-Daesh missions” in Iraq and Syria.
Critics have already questioned motives behind the plan, citing Washington’s failure to commit troops when Daesh was overrunning Syrian and Iraqi cities one after another.
On Tuesday, Abadi said the military operation aimed at liberating west Mosul from Daesh is “in its last stage.”
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched the offensive to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last major city stronghold in the country, last October.