“The drawdown of U.S. force levels in Iraq shows the increased capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces.”
The acting defense secretary said the troop reduction in Iraq does not represent a change in U.S. policy. It is consistent with plans to reduce the involvement of U.S. troops in large combat operations in the Middle Eastern country.
“U.S. and Coalition forces remain in Iraq to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS,” he said. “The government of Iraq and the U.S. government agree that ISIS remains a threat and that a U.S. and Coalition presence remains vital.”
The acting secretary said the U.S. would maintain “a counterterrorism platform in Iraq to support partner forces with airpower and intelligence.”
More than 4,500 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq since a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003. They ousted the government of Saddam Hussein, according to Pentagon statistics. More than 32,000 have been injured.
Miller also announced Friday the U.S. military met its goal of cutting 2,500 troops from Afghanistan. This is despite congressional approval of a bill that forbids federal expenditures to reduce the number of troops below 4,000.