US Announces More Troop Withdrawals from Iraq 

The U.S. military has announced the withdrawal of more of its service members from Iraq this month.  The head of the U.S. Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, said during visit to Iraq Wednesday that the U.S. troop presence in the country would be cut from 5,200 to 3,000. “This reduced footprint allows us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS [Islamic State] in Iraq and ensuring its enduring defeat,” McKenzie said. “This decision is due to our confidence in the Iraqi security forces’ increased ability to operate independently.”The U.S. troops in Iraq are performing counterterrorism operations and training Iraqi forces.  There are another 8,600 U.S. military service members in Afghanistan. FILE – U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2018.A senior U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reporters traveling with President Donald Trump late Tuesday, said another announcement about U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan was likely later this week. Trump said while campaigning for president in 2016 that he wanted to end what he called the country’s “endless wars.” FILE – President Donald Trump meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office of the White House, Aug. 20, 2020, in Washington.“We have been taking our troops out of Iraq fairly rapidly, and we look forward to the day when we don’t have to be there,” Trump said last month as he hosted Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House.  “And hopefully Iraq can live their own lives and they can defend themselves, which they’ve been doing long before we got involved.” Carla Babb contributed to this report.