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Immediate Release

Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Secretary Carter's Visit to Iraq to Thank U.S. Troops, Discuss Next Steps in ISIL Fight

Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Iraq Sunday for a visit to recognize and thank U.S., coalition, and Iraqi troops engaged in the counter-ISIL campaign, survey key locations directly supporting the battle for Mosul, and discuss the next steps in the fight with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani as well as CJTF-OIR Commander Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend.


During his visit Secretary Carter will receive an update on the operation to retake Mosul. He will meet personally with members of the Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga who have been engaged in the tough fight for the city. The secretary will also meet with U.S. and coalition military personnel who are enabling the Iraqi and Kurdish forces to thank them for their service and dedication.

Secretary Carter is in the midst of a round-the-world trip to thank deployed U.S. troops for their service over the holidays, meet with important regional partners, and advance U.S. priorities including the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and the lasting defeat of ISIL. The trip already has included visits to Japan, India, Afghanistan and Bahrain. The secretary will also travel to Israel, Italy and the United Kingdom, where he will conclude the trip by participating in the latest meeting of defense ministers from the leading military contributors to the international coalition to defeat ISIL.