Baghdad, Irbil – The US presence in Iraq in the post-ISIS phase topped the meetings of US Defense Secretary James Mattis, who arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday in a surprise visit, US officials said.
Mattis met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defense Minister Arfan al-Hayali to discuss the future role of the US forces in Iraq.
”There are plans under consideration… that will look at residual presence in the future,” Lt. General Steve Townsend, the US-led coalition’s commanding general, told reporters in a joint press briefing with Mattis, Reuters reported.
Following talks in Baghdad, Mattis traveled to Irbil where he met with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.
The two officials discussed the latest developments linked to the war on terror, the battle for Tal Afar and American-Kurdish and American-Iraqi ties.
After departing the Kurdish region, Mattis headed to Ankara for talks with Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.