Alwaght- Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are calling for immediate withdrawal of US forces from their country as the government has already declared defeat of ISIS and end of the terrorist group’s self-proclaimed caliphate under which the US-led coalition sent forces to Iraq.
Kenan Tuzlu, commander of the Turkmen unit of PMF, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic, in an interview with Sputnik news agency blamed American forces as "aggressive and occupying", and called for their withdrawal.
"We don't want the US or any other foreign military’s presence in Iraq. We consider it unacceptable. There is no rational explanation for the American presence in our country. Earlier they pretended to fight ISIS for their troops to stay in Iraq. Now ISIS is over and the Americans do not have any reliable pretext. We had been against the American presence in Iraq even before ISIS was destroyed. Our forces and the Iraqi army were fighting against ISIS. An agreement according to which the Americans should leave the country was completed in 2011 in the US. However, they do not stick to this agreement. Iraqi people don’t want American military people to stay in the country. No country can agree to be occupied by another country," the Iraqi commander told Russia's state-run news agency.
Kenan Tuzlu also warned that if the US continues its military presence in Iraq, PMF will regard it as the enemy.
He emphasized, "The leader of PMF, Ebu Mehdi Muhandis, never wanted the US presence in Iraq. All PMF senior officers also demand the withdrawal of the American forces from the country. American military forces set up their bases mainly in the sites where Kurdish forces are located. The PMF territorial army doesn’t need the US military forces to be present in Iraq."
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army's victory over ISIS was declared last December by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi after the country's forces gained complete control over the border with Syria.
Last week, an Iraqi government spokesman reportedly confirmed that the US had begun to draw down its forces, following Baghdad's declaration of victory over ISIS. Western contractors at a US-led coalition base said earlier that dozens of American soldiers had been transported to Afghanistan over the past weeks.
An Iraqi official close to al-Abadi said earlier that the initial agreement stipulated the withdrawal of some 60 percent of the current US contingent, while 4,000 troops would stay to train the Iraqi military.
However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in October last year at a congressional hearing that the US would maintain a military presence in Iraq under the Authorization for Use of Military Force until ISIS is completely eliminated.
"We will remain in Iraq until ISIS is defeated… under the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs," Tillerson stated before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We are there also at the invitation of the Iraqi government."