USA forces have begun reducing their numbers in Iraq after Iraqi authorities declared "victory" over Islamic State, an Iraqi government spokesman said on Monday. An unnamed senior Iraqi official told the AP an initial agreement between Baghdad and Washington would see 60 percent of USA troops withdraw.
Iraqi forces backed by a US -led worldwide coalition past year captured all the territory that fell under Islamic State control in 2014 and 2015, including the northern city of Mosul, which served as the militants' de facto capital.
A Pentagon report released in November said there were 8,892 USA troops in Iraq as of late September.
The transport of crude was supposed to begin last week, but oil officials in Iraq said the delay was "technical in nature", Reuters reported.
The US will withdraw troops from Iraq following a deal between the US-led coalition and the Iraqi government, according to an Associated Press report.
Despite the reduced number of USA troops, ISIS remains a threat, according to American and Iraqi officials.
Its continued presence will be "conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq", it added.
Iraq declared the defeat of IS in December - a major victory for country which once saw almost one-third of its territory controlled by the group.
The US combat mission in Iraq ended in 2010 but some American troops remained in the country to train and assist Iraqi forces. At the time the military intervention was described as "limited", but as Iraq's military struggled to roll back the extremists, the USA -led coalition's footprint in the country steadily grew.
"The ISIL conceded in the war but we have to be watchful for their new moves and the moves of other terrorists who intend to disrupt security in Iraq in the uniform of other groups and under new banners", said the Iraqi commander. In 2014, at the height of the Sunni militant group's power, IS controlled almost a third of Iraqi territory.
Iraq's government said that Iraqi authorities would coordinate United States troop presence with the coalition.
There were some 170,000 American troops in in 2007 at the height of the surge of USA forces to combat sectarian violence unleashed by the US -led invasion of the country to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.
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