'US to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan'

'US to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan'

However, Iraq's Shiite-led paramilitary forces have called for a withdraw of U.S. forces, while Prime Minister Abadi has said that Iraq's military will need American training for years to come.

The United States began its drawdown of troops from Iraq, an Iraqi spokesman and Western contractors told the Associated Press.

Al-Hadithi explained that the agreement was reached "after the victory achieved by the Iraqi forces against the forces of terrorism", adding that the nature of the next phase requires a presence of another kind.

An AP reporter at the base saw troop movements matching the officials' account.

According to the Western contractors, the drawdown began last week and a number of US troops have left bases on daily flights.

"We will retain an appropriate amount of capabilities as well as an advisory presence to continue training, advising, and equipping our partners in the continued fight against Daesh", it said, referring to the IS group by one of its Arabic acronyms. The contractors spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations and declined to reveal the exact size of the drawdown.

The U.S. first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq in August 2014.

Reporters blocked from covering Tillerson's horseback ride in Argentina
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeks stronger bilateral, trade ties with Peru, foreign affairs analyst Juan Velit affirmed. Maduro has accused the U.S. and its allies of trying to undermine his socialist government.

"There will be a gradual reduction of the USA forces in the coming months without replacing them with others", Silliman said.

However, the Pentagon insists no drawdown is taking place.

Iraq declared the defeat of IS in December - a major victory for country which once saw almost one-third of its territory controlled by the group. In 2014, Daesh (IS) controlled almost a third of Iraqi territory.

Western coalition officials say Assad's forces, which now control more than half of Syria, are too thinly stretched to keep Isis in check, especially as they launch new offensives against the rebels.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said last week that the USA had "a pretty good understanding" of where the ISIS fighters have gone, noting that "these fighters that we did not kill will go somewhere".

Daesh has been driven out by the Iraqi army, backed by a US -led coalition, from territory overran by the terrorist group in northern and western Iraq in 2014.

In 2003, an American-led invasion toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and troops engaged in extended fighting across the country, battling an insurgency and later sectarian violence.

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