Iraqi and US military officials met for the first time in Baghdad to discuss the timetable for the withdrawal of the Washington-led anti-ISIS coalition forces from Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told the press that the first leg of the meeting took place under his chairmanship and supervision.

Washington has maintained a permanent military presence in Iraq since its invasion in 2003.

Although all US combat forces left the region in 2011, thousands returned in 2014 to support the Iraqi government in its fight against Daesh.

Since the loss of ISIS's influence in the region, the Iraqi government has been calling for the US-led military coalition to gradually leave the country.

Missile attack on the base of anti-ISIS coalition forces in Iraq

The US has about 2,500 troops in Iraq. The US military and its bases have been the target of more than 150 missile and drone attacks by pro-Iranian militias in recent months.

Joint military committee established between the two countries

In a statement released by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday, it was announced that following the negotiations between Iraq and the United States that started in August 2023, it was decided to establish a high military committee to finalize the mission of the anti-ISIS coalition forces in Iraq.

This statement came after recent drone attacks, especially by pro-Iranian Shiite armed groups, against US targets in Iraq and Syria.

Iraq forms committee to permanently close US bases in the country

The mission of the high military committee will be to end the presence of the international coalition forces in Iraq, the statement said, adding that the committee will work to establish political, economic, cultural and military relations between Iraq and the coalition forces.

"In this negotiation process, Iraq reiterates its commitment to the security, stability and prevention of tension of the international coalition forces in all parts of the country," the statement said, adding that Iraq will continue to ensure the security of the coalition forces.

Statement from the US

US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin said in a written statement, also on Thursday, that the launch of the high military committee meetings reflects his country's deep commitment to regional stability and Iraq's sovereignty."

Attack on Hashd al-Shaabi militants in Iraq: Baghdad blames US-led coalition

"US military personnel are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government as part of a mission to advise and assist Iraqi security forces in their ongoing fight against ISIL. The United States remains committed to a secure, stable and sovereign Iraq."