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Thursday 30 March 2023 Dublin: 13°C
AP Photo/Gustavo Ferrari Soldiers from the last US combat unit carry their personal belongings to be inspected at Camp Virginia, 100 Km North of Kuwait City on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010, before flying back to the US after their tour of duty in Iraq.
# Iraq
Iraqi leader declares country ‘independent’ as US leaves
US combat operation formally ends tonight.

THE PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ has declared the country “independent” as the US formally withdraws from its combat mission.

However, the withdrawal has drawn mixed reactions from Iraqis.

Many civilians fear the security situation in Iraq in not stable enough to protect against militants taking hold and taking advantage of the country’s power vaccum.

Others say that they will finally be able to get the country back on its feet once the American forces are out.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is the caretaker leader until political parties in Iraq can agree on the appointment of a new prime minister.

Two weeks ago, the US withdrew a substantial number of its troops ahead of the end of August deadline for withdrawal, but left 50,000 in place to provide back-up assistance to Iraqi security forces.

At the peak of the US invasion, 170,000 US troops were posted in Iraq.

Earlier today, US Vice-President Joe Biden arrived on an unannounced visit to Iraq ahead of today’s military ceremony marking the US withdrawal.

Biden will meet with local politicians in an attempt to overcome the ongoing political impasse. Iraq has been without a government since general elections in March.

US President Barack Obama is due to make a national address across US television this evening and is expected to talk about the next phase of US involvement in Iraq.

Read about the US campaign in Iraq in numbers.