US Troops Return From Iraq
US Troops Return From IraqWhite House

US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will formally sign an agreement on Monday ending ending the 18-year long American combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021.

Biden and Kadhimi will meet in the Oval Office for their first in-person meeting as part of a strategic dialogue between the US and Iraq, reported Reuters.

At the close of the session, the end of the US combat mission in Iraq will be announced, according to a senior Biden official.

The current 2,500 strong US military presence is in Iraq fighting what is left of ISIS. After the drawdown, the American role in the Middle Eastern country will focus on training and advising the Iraqi military so it can stand on its own.

The change is expected to go smoothly as the US has already shifted its focus on training the Iraqi military.

“The goal is the enduring defeat of ISIS,” a senior administration official told the media in advance of Kadhimi’s White House meeting.

“By the end of the year we think we’ll be in a good place to really formally move into an advisory and capacity-building role,” the official added, but declined to comment on the number of American troops who would stay in Iraq for advising and training purposes.