Rasool emphasized that the withdrawal process is planned to be completed by 31 December.
The statement underlined that the withdrawal process is taking place according to the plan drawn by the Joint Operations Command of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the International Coalition forces.
In December 2019, Iraq and the United States began discussing the partial withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq. In January 2020, during massive protests and following an escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran, the Iraqi Council of Representatives passed a non-binding measure to "expel all foreign troops from their country," including American troops. Following the vote, U.S. president Donald Trump initially refused to withdraw from Iraq, but began withdrawing forces in March.
In March 2020, the U.S.-led coalition began transferring control over a number of military installations back to Iraqi security forces, citing developments in the multi-year mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). By 4 April 2020, four bases had been transferred. The base transfers and withdrawal were accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq and the threat of proxy elements.
In February 2021, NATO announced it will expand its mission to train Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS, partially reversing the U.S.-led troop withdrawals. In April 2021, U.S. Central Command stated that there were no plans for a total withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, citing continued threats posed by the ISIS insurgency and some militias.
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