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Statement

Excerpt from Gen Frank McKenzie’s speech in Iraq

CENTCOM PAO

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Moving forward, we must continue our D-ISIS work together with our partners in Iraq and Syria. We are continuing to expand on our partner capacity programs that enable Iraqi forces and allow us to reduce our footprint in Iraq. In recognition of the great progress the Iraqi forces have made and in consultation and coordination with the Government of Iraq and our coalition partners, the United States has decided to reduce our troop presence in Iraq from about 5,200 to 3,000 troops during the month of September. This reduced footprint allows us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS in Iraq and ensuring its enduring defeat. This decision is due to our confidence in the Iraqi Security Forces’ increased ability to operate independently. The U.S. decision is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment to the ultimate goal, which is an Iraqi Security Force that is capable of preventing an ISIS resurgence and of securing Iraq’s sovereignty without external assistance. The journey has been difficult, the sacrifice has been great, but the progress has been significant. Your mission is important and there is still much work to be done- so let’s get back to it.