FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2019, file photo, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan speaks with the media as he waits for the arrival of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon's top official, Shanahan, has arrived in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. commanders and Afghan leaders amid a push for peace with the Taliban. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Top Pentagon official in Iraq to discuss US troop presence

February 12, 2019 - 2:21 am

BAGHDAD (AP) — The top Pentagon official has arrived in Baghdad to consult with American military commanders and Iraqi government leaders on the future U.S. troop presence.

Pat Shanahan, the acting secretary of defense, said before his unannounced arrival on Tuesday that he wanted to hear first-hand about the state of Iraq's fight against remnants of the Islamic State group.

It's Shanahan's first visit to Iraq.

The U.S. has about 5,200 troops in Iraq to train and advise Iraqi security forces, 16 years after the U.S. invaded to topple Saddam Hussein.

President Donald Trump upset Iraqis by saying earlier this month that U.S. forces should use their Iraqi positions to keep an eye on neighboring Iran. That's not the stated U.S. mission, and Iraqi officials have said Trump's proposal would violate Iraq's constitution.

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