Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, say farewell in Erbil, Iraq, Oct. 23, 2016. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)
IHS Jane's 360: Carter: To consolidate gains, US troops expected to remain in Iraq after Mosul
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter suggested US forces are unlikely to drawdown their presence in Iraq if Mosul is recaptured, as any security gains may be fragile.
"We have discussed that with the Iraqi government, and I only start there because it will, in the end, be a decision that we make with the Iraqi government," Carter said during a 22 October meeting with US troops in Baghdad.
US personnel sent to Iraq for advise and assist roles, direct action raids, logistics, and security support have slowly but consistently increased in numbers, particularly in preparation for the now-underway operation to liberate Mosul from Islamic State fighters.
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