Shanahan is keen to reassure Iraqi leaders after President Donald Trump angered many by saying he wanted to maintain some troops at the Al-Asad airbase, northwest of Baghdad, to keep an eye on Iran.
The acting defence secretary, who flew in from Afghanistan on his foreign tour since taking office last month, was due to hold talks with Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and top military advisers, as well as Lieutenant General Paul LaCamera, the commander of anti-IS coalition forces.
“Our main partnership and military activity in Iraq is the de-ISIS (IS) mission,” a senior Pentagon official told journalists travelling with Shanahan, keeping the focus on the fight against Islamic State jihadists.
Washington was also pressing its allies to repatriate their nationals captured and taken prisoner after fighting fought for IS in Iraq and Syria, the official said.
“We think coalition members need to take responsibility for their citizens who are fighters. It’s been a…
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