"There will be no US troops in Iraq until December 31 this year, but that does not mean our troops will not be here," Matthew Toller told Kurdistan 24 on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. "But the advisers and trainers will stay here and continue to advise and train the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces."
"In the coming days, some of our forces will withdraw from Iraq. The Iraqi government's demand is very clear, saying that we want to continue our strategic relationship with the United States, and that includes military cooperation," he said.
"We are here at the official invitation of the Iraqi government and it is our duty to eliminate ISIS, but we will change our role from aggressive to advisory," Matthew Toller said, stressing that "apart from ISIS, there are other threats, such as the existence of PKK, which occasionally attacks Peshmerga forces and causes Turkey to invade its borders."
"These attacks are damaging Iraq's territorial integrity. The presence of PKK and ISIS and several militant groups outside the Iraqi government, is another threat to security and stability in the region," he said, expressing his concern over Turkish attacks on PKK militants in Kurdistan Region.
Regarding the repetition of the Afghanistan scenario in Iraq, the US ambassador said that "[ US President] Joe Biden understands the importance of Iraq and the United States will never strategically withdraw from Iraq" and that "we do not want Iraq to become a threat to the region and other countries."
"There are a small number of our troops at the Harir Base who support the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces against ISIS, and moving them elsewhere is the responsibility of the US Central Command," Toller said about rumors that US troops are planned to leave the base.
"We believe that a strong government in the Kurdistan Region and a strong federal government in Baghdad will be a successful example in the region for the benefit of the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad," the US ambassador said about the construction of his country's largest consulate in the Kurdistan Region, underlining that "the Kurds are our important ally and if the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] is strong and we are active in preventing the entry of militants into the house of representatives and the government, it will certainly be in the interests of the KRG and the federal government."
"Preparations have been made for the election and the United Nations and the European Union will send observers to monitor it," Matthew Toller said of the upcoming Iraqi elections, stressing that they would be held on time.
Reporter's code: 50101