United States Still in Iraq Explainer

A U.S. military vehicle, part of a convoy, arrives Oct. 21, 2019, near Dahuk, Iraq. Twenty years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, in blinding explosions of shock and awe, American forces remain in the country in what has become a small, but consistent presence to ensure an ongoing relationship with a key military and diplomatic partner in the Middle East.

WASHINGTON — Twenty years after the U.S. invaded Iraq — in blinding explosions of shock and awe — American forces remain in the country in what has become a small but consistent presence to ensure an ongoing relationship with a key military and diplomatic partner in the Middle East.

The roughly 2,500 U.S. troops are scattered around the country, largely in military installations in Baghdad and in the north. And while it is a far cry from the more than 170,000 U.S. forces in Iraq at the peak of the war in 2007, U.S. officials say the limited — but continued — troop level is critical as a show of commitment to the region and a hedge against Iranian influence and weapons trafficking.

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