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Photo: Lucas Jackson-Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. will withdraw 2,200 troops from Iraq by the end of September, bringing troop levels in the country down to 3,000, confirmed Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command.

The big picture: The move is in line with President Trump's campaign promise to pare back America's involvement in the Middle East. The president has reduced the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

  • At the height of the Iraq War, there were over 150,000 service members stationed in Iraq, according to the Times.
  • The number of troops in Iraq after the pullback will be at about the same level as in 2015, when the U.S. was in the early stages of its campaign against the Islamic State.

Driving the news: The announcement comes days after Trump accused Pentagon leadership of waging war in order to keep defense contractors “happy,” as he was denying reports that he insulted fallen service members.

What they're saying: “This reduced footprint allows us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS in Iraq and ensuring its enduring defeat,” General McKenzie said.

  • “This decision is due to our confidence in the Iraqi security forces’ increased ability to operate independently."

Go deeper

Nov 18, 2020 - Podcasts

11th hour troop withdrawals

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it would withdraw around 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by mid-January. This comes after President Trump’s Pentagon reshuffle last week — when he fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a few other officials.

2 hours ago - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with first lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.