UPDATE: Macron says France to stay in Iraq even if US withdraws

UPDATE: Macron says France to stay in Iraq even if US withdraws
France's President Emmanuel Macron (C) arrives for a press conference at the guest house in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on August 28th, 2021. Ludovic MARIN / AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said his country would continue to deploy troops in Iraq to battle terrorism even if the US were to withdraw.

“No matter what choices the Americans make, we will maintain our presence in Iraq to fight against terrorism,” Macron told a news conference in Baghdad where he attended a regional summit.

“We have the operational capacity to ensure this presence,” he added after the meeting, which has been overshadowed by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and Thursday’s suicide bombing in Kabul.

Earlier, Macron warned that the Islamic State group remained a threat.

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“We all know that we must not lower our guard, because Daesh (IS) remains a threat, and I know that the fight against these terrorist groups is a priority of your government,” Macron said, after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi in Baghdad ahead of a summit of Middle East leaders.

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi arrive for a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s office in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on August 28th, 2021. (Photo by Eliot BLONDET / POOL / AFP)

On Thursday, a blast at Kabul airport, where huge crowds had gathered in the hope of being getting onto an evacuation flight out of the country, killed at least 85 people.

The Afghanistan branch of Islamic State, Islamic State-Khorasan Province, has taken responsibility for the attack.


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