BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, announced on Thursday that NATO decided to expand its mission in Iraq by training personnel for the national army and security forces.

During a press conference held at the end of a meeting conducted by NATO foreign ministers, Stoltenberg said: “We agreed to expand our mission in Iraq by training non-commissioned officers, mine experts and federal police cadres within the framework of its program.”

Stoltenberg’s comments come a few days after Belgium, France, Canada, and the U.S. withdrew some of their forces from Iraq.

In January, the Iraqi Parliament voted to pass a resolution that called on all foreign forces to leave the country.

This vote came in response to the U.S.’ assassination of Quds Force commander, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd Al-Sha’abi), Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes, near Baghdad International Airport on January 3rd.

Following this attack, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired as many as 18 missiles towards the U.S. Armed Forces’ wing at the ‘Ayn Al-Assad Airbase in Al-Anbar and another installation in Kirkuk.

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