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As ISIS Presence Dwindles, U.S. Troops In Iraq Face Other Threats

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PBS News Hour

As ISIS Presence Dwindles, U.S. Troops In Iraq Face Other Threats

In the latest targeting of American troops in Iraq, an unexploded rocket landed close to a military base on Sunday. There were no serious damages. Today around 2,500 U.S. troops remain in the country as part of a multinational fight against ISIS. While it is the lowest U.S. military presence there in two decades, and ISIS has lost significant territory, fears of resurgence in case of a troop pullout remain. Special Correspondent Leila Molana-Allen and videographer Adrian Hartrick report.

Transcript

Hari Sreenivasan:

    An unexploded rocket landed close to a military base hosting U.S. troops in northern Iraq today. There was no significant damage but the attack was the latest targeting the American military presence in the country. About 2,500 U.S. troops remain in Iraq as part of the multinational coalition force in the fight against ISIS. It's the lowest U.S. Military presence in two decades. And while ISIS has lost territorial control, the threat of a resurgence remains if the military were to pull out all together.

    NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Leila Molana-Allen and videographer Adrian Hartrick were granted access to travel to bases across Iraq that still have a U.S. presence to find out what they're doing and what their future plans are.

Leila Molana-Allen:

    Touching down at a Kurdish base in north Iraq, Coalition special forces arrive to provide tactical training.

    Just a few years ago this base was full of Americans. But now, like others across Iraq, it's been handed back to local forces. This is what the foreign troop presence in Iraq now looks like: training, equipping, advising.

    "No combat troops" has become the top line in efforts to walk the diplomatic tightrope over tensions that US troops still remain in Iraq 18 years after the invasion.

    Earlier this year the American military completed an agreed reduction to 2,500 troops country-wide. Now they're in talks to withdraw altogether.

    Their stated mission is to defeat ISIS. While the group no longer has any territory, their scattered remnants are still a threat.

Leila Molana-Allen:

    What do you think would happen right now if there was a full drawdown?

Col. David Williams:

    The definite risks are an ISIS resurgence potentially. The enabling capacity that the coalition provides is really essential to the Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish security forces.

Read the Full Transcript https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/as-isis-presence-dwindles-u-s-troops-in-iraq-face-other-threats