American troops hand over military base to Iraqi troops.
Image Credit: AFP
On Sunday, United States troops completely withdrew from Camp Taji military base in Iraq, and handed it over to Iraq’s security forces. The base is located around 20km North of Baghdad, and in its peak it held up to 2000 coalition soldiers. It was used by US, Australian and New Zealand forces to train Iraqi troops. This is the eighth military base handed over to Iraq in the past few months.
The bases were used in the Coalition’s plan to destroy the Islamic State a few years back, when the terrorist group managed to gain huge swathes of the Iraqi and Syrian land. Recently, the Taji military base was subjected to several attacks by Iran-backed militias. The Coalition forces explained that this was not the reason behind their withdrawal from the military base, but it was ‘part of a long range plan coordinated with the government of Iraq.’
A spokesman for the Iraq Military Joint Operations Command, Tahsin Al- Khafaji, said to the news agency INA, that ‘The international alliance forces today handed over site number 8 at Camp Taji to the Iraqi troops.’ The last coalition members will leave the base after handing over the military equipment in the base to Iraqi troops.
He added that ‘Other sites in the camp will be handed over according to a timetable.’
The troop withdrawal came days after, Donald Trump, promised that he will withdraw the last few US troops in Iraq. The United States have around 5,000 troops, while the Coalition have around 2,500 troops.
Earlier this year, the Iraqi government held a vote regarding the foreign troops in the country, after a US airstrike killed Iran’s top military commander and Iraqi’s armed group leader. The resolution passed and the Iraq parliament requested the end of US- led coalition assistance in fighting the Islamic State.