Iraqi prime minister asks US to plan for troop withdrawal

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Iraqi prime minister asks US for plan to remove troops

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has asked the U.S. to send a delegation to begin preparations for the safe withdrawal of American troops from the country, according to multiple reports.

Abdul-Mahdi made the request during a telephone call Thursday night with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a readout of the call released by Abdul-Mahdi's office.

The Iraqi leader asked Pompeo to "send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament's resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq," the statement said, according to The Associated Press.

“The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements,” the statement added.

The call came after the Iraqi parliament voted Sunday to expel thousands of U.S. troops in response to the killing last week of a top Iranian general, The Washington Post reported. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed Iran's elite Quds Force, and six others were killed Jan. 3 in a U.S. military strike near the Baghdad airport in Iraq.

More than 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq as part of an 81-country, global coalition aimed at fighting the militant Islamic State group, according to the Post. Officials with the group announced Sunday that it paused in training troops to focus on ensuring the safety of personnel and bases, the Post reported.

Top American military officials including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper have said there were no plans for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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