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Pentagon says U.S. will keep military presence in Iraq, 20 years after invasion

About 2,500 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Iraq.

Published: March 7, 2023 8:45am

Updated: March 7, 2023 10:37am

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the U.S. will maintain a military presence in Iraq, 20 years after the United States invaded Iraq and overthrew President Saddam Hussein.

Austin made the announcement during an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday – two weeks shy of the 20-year anniversary of the invasion.

He said after a meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani that U.S. forces would remain in the country "at the invitation of the government of Iraq," Austin according to Reuters.

"The United States will continue to strengthen and broaden our partnership in support of Iraqi security, stability and sovereignty," he said also said.

U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, but roughly 2,500 U.S. troops remained stationed there to help local forces combat the Islamic State terror network.

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