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U.S. to Send 600 More Troops to Iraq to Help Retake Mosul From ISIS
President Obama has authorized sending an additional 600 American troops to Iraq to assist Iraqi forces in the looming battle to take back the city of Mosul from the Islamic State, United States officials said on Wednesday.
The announcement means that there will soon be 5,000 American troops in Iraq, seven years after the Obama administration withdrew all American troops from the country. Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has criticized both Mr. Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, for that decision.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, traveling in New Mexico, said the additional troops would help with logistics as well as providing intelligence for Iraqi security forces in the fight for Mosul. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that Iraqi forces would be ready to retake the city by early October.
"These are military forces that will be deployed to intensify the strategy that's in place, to support Iraqi forces as they prepare for an offensive," Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Wednesday.
Administration officials insisted that the deployment was consistent with Mr. Obama's policy not to commit American ground forces again in Iraq. Mr. Obama, who vowed to end the Iraq war in his 2008 presidential campaign, has been wary of increasing the number of American troops there. The officials said the Americans would be there to assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces, who they said were leading the operations to retake the Islamic State's remaining territory.
Mrs. Clinton said at an NBC News forum on national security this month that she would not put ground troops in Iraq "ever again." Mr. Trump said in March that he would deploy up to 30,000 American troops in the Middle East to defeat the Islamic State.
[Source: By Helene Cooper, International New York Times, Washington, 28Sep16]
War in Afghanistan & Iraq
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