The U.S. will withdraw 2,200 troops from Iraq by the end of September, bringing troop levels in the country down to 3,000, confirmed Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command.
The big picture: The move is in line with President Trump's campaign promise to pare back America's involvement in the Middle East. The president has reduced the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
- At the height of the Iraq War, there were over 150,000 service members stationed in Iraq, according to the Times.
- The number of troops in Iraq after the pullback will be at about the same level as in 2015, when the U.S. was in the early stages of its campaign against the Islamic State.
Driving the news: The announcement comes days after Trump accused Pentagon leadership of waging war in order to keep defense contractors “happy,” as he was denying reports that he insulted fallen service members.
What they're saying: “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,” General McKenzie said.
- “This decision is due to our confidence in the Iraqi security forces’ increased ability to operate independently."