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US begins reducing troops in Iraq after victory over IS

Susannah George and Qassim Abdul-Zahra report for AP:

The U.S. has started to reduce the number of its troops in Iraq following Baghdad’s declaration of victory over the Islamic State group last year, an Iraqi government spokesman and Western contractors said Monday.

The move marks a shift in priorities for the U.S. following the collapse of the extremists’ so-called caliphate late last year. It also comes about three months ahead of Iraqi national elections in which paramilitary groups with close ties to Iran are set to play a decisive role.

Dozens of U.S. soldiers have been transported from Iraq to Afghanistan on daily flights in the past week, along with weapons and equipment, the contractors said.

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