Mark Esper—the Defense Secretary of the United States on Monday said that the United States has no plans to pull its troops out of Iraq.
The statement came into the response of the media reports of an American military letter informing officials of the Iraqi government about repositioning US troops in preparation for leaving for the country.
Both countries Iran and the United States have been in war of the words since Friday when a drone attack which was ordered by the President of the United States Donald Trump killed the military commander of Iran Qassem Soleimani. It is worth mentioning here that Soleimani widely seen as the second powerful figure of Iran behind the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq,” Esper told Pentagon reporters. He further added that there were 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,” US Defense Secretary Esper said.
The letter claiming to leave Iraq caused confusion about the future of the 5,000 US troops in Iraq. A US-led invasion in Iraq in 2003 toppled Dictator Saddam Hussein.
According to a top officer of the US military, the letter was a draft document meant only to underscore increased movement by the US forces.
“Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That’s not what’s happening,” said U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.