US military has no plans to leave Iraq: US Defense Secretary

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The United States has no plans to pull out militarily from Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Pentagon reporters on Monday, following reports by Reuters and other media of a US military letter about a withdrawal.

“There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq,” Esper said when asked about the letter, adding there had also been no plans issued to prepare to leave.

“I don’t know what that letter is ... We’re trying to find out where that’s coming from, what that is. But there’s been no decision made to leave Iraq. Period.”

Esper added the United States was still committed to countering ISIS in Iraq, alongside America’s allies and partners.

Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the letter regarding Iraq was a poorly worded, unsigned draft meant to underscore increased levels of troop movements.

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