Defense Secretary Ash Carter today met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad, where the two leaders discussed the campaign to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists and other issues, according to a Defense Department news release.
The meeting focused on the military campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat, and Carter complimented the prime minister on the performance of Iraqi security forces in the ongoing fight for Mosul, the release said.
Next Steps in Mosul Operation
The release said the two leaders discussed the next steps in the Mosul operation, including the need to continue the close cooperation between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan regional government.
Carter thanked Abadi for nearly two years of a close personal partnership, and noted the continued supporting role the United States and the counter-ISIL coalition can play in Iraq's efforts to destroy the terrorist group, according to the release.
The secretary and Abadi agreed that there will still be work to rid Iraq of ISIL after the liberation of Mosul, and that a strong U.S.-Iraq partnership is critical to finish ISIL and address the security challenges that follow, the release said.
Later in the day, Carter flew to visit U.S. service members at Qayyarah Airfield West, also called “Q-West” in northern Iraq.
Comments on Terrorist Bombings in Istanbul
Also today, Carter commented on yesterday’s terrorist bombings in Istanbul, Turkey.
“On behalf of the Department of Defense, I want to convey my deepest condolences to the families of the victims in Saturday's cowardly terrorist attack in Istanbul,” the secretary said in a statement. “This attack only redoubles our resolve to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Turkish allies in condemning these attacks and relentlessly combating terrorism. We remain firmly committed to working closely with Turkey within NATO and the counter-ISIL coalition as well as bilaterally to combat such threats to security and stability.”