The United States will move troops to Afghanistan from Iraq, however, the shift will not represent a large “exodus” of US soldiers from the country, Department of Defense spokesman Eric Pahon told Sputnik.
“That’s correct, but I can’t talk numbers/specifics on the shift,” Pahon said Monday when asked to confirm media reports that US troops in Iraq will be moved to Afghanistan.
Earlier in the day, Iraq’s government spokesman Saad Al Hadithi said the United States had started a gradual reduction of its troops in the country.
“There is a downward trend in US troops there [in Iraq], yes, but not a huge impending exodus,” Pahon said. “We’ll continue our presence as long as the Iraqis ask us to.”
The Pentagon said in a release earlier that the US-led Coalition against Daesh would shift focus from combat operations in Iraq to sustaining and securing the gains made against the terrorist organization.
The continued US-led Coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq, according to the Pentagon.