Despite New Mission, US troops Still in the Fight in Iraq
By Dan De Luce
WASHINGTON — US troops will still be in combat and taking on Islamist militants in Iraq even as the American military moves to an "advise and assist" role with a smaller force, officials said Thursday.
The withdrawal of the last US combat brigade on Thursday was hailed as a symbolic moment for the controversial American presence in Iraq, more than seven years since the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
But while the remaining 50,000 troops will no longer have a formal combat mission after September 1, they will be well-armed and possibly coming under fire as they join in manhunts for Al-Qaeda figures or other extremists.
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