Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby held an off-camera press briefing on December 9, 2021, and said about 2,500 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq despite the formal end of the U.S. combat mission there that same day.
Kirby said “number one, we had agreed to, with the Iraqis — and we’re there at their invitation — to transition the mission to advise, train and assist by the end of this year. And as you’ve seen, we — the technical talks today reaffirm that and we’ve done that essentially.”
“There is no significant posture change in Iraq right now. The numbers are still where it — where they were, which is about 2,500. And remember, this is a change in mission, right, not necessarily a change in physical posture. Not to say that that posture won’t change over time, but as you and I are speaking here today, there’s been no major change to that.”