President Joe Biden said at the White House on Monday alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi that the United States’ combat mission in Iraq will be over by the end of this year. Biden told reporters in the Oval Office the U.S. focus in Iraq will shift to an advisory one before 2021 is over, saying, “I think things are going well. Our role in Iraq will be to be available to continue to train, to assist to help, and to deal with ISIS as it arrives. But we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.”
Biden’s announcement came as al-Kahdhimi visited the White House to talk about the continued presence of U.S. troops in the country, and possibly changing their role. The U.S. military presence in Iraq, which dates to former President George W. Bush, hit a crossroads in January 2020 when a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leader of that country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, while he was in Iraq.