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U.S. shuts down ground forces office in Iraq, as combat against Islamic State ends

Tamer El-Ghobashy writes for The Washington Post:

The headquarters coordinating the activities of American ground forces in Iraq closed down on Monday, marking the end of major combat operations against the Islamic State, said U.S. officials.

About 5,000 American ground forces were stationed in Iraq at the height of the war against the Islamic State that culminated with the reclaiming of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the self-declared capital of the militants in the country.

The ground troops were there to advise, equip and assist Iraq’s military during the grueling three year fight to claw back the one-third of Iraqi territory that the Islamic State had claimed. They were not involved in active combat but were often seen near field command centers around Mosul, operating surveillance drones or coordinating battlefield logistics with Iraqi commanders.

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