U.S. troops will be needed to train Iraq’s security forces for the next three years — at a minimum — Army Lt. Gen. James Terry said Thursday.
America’s top U.S. commander overseeing Operation Inherent Resolve made the remark while speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.
“I see the conditions right now being set for a pretty stable environment, but I still think we’re — in terms of building some of the capabilities that are required there — probably about three years down the road, minimum,” Gen. Terry said, Military Times reported Thursday.
The general added that U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group are helping the Iraqi government in its efforts to degrade the organization.
“I see [ISIL] as transitioning to the defensive piece of this. You will see some local counterattacks, and again, some of these areas will be contested. Again, I would just say it takes some patience as we continue to build the Iraqi security forces out there,” Gen. Terry said, Military Times reported.
President Obama has authorized up to 3,100 troops for the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts to train Iraqi security forces. There are roughly 1,700 U.S. troops in Iraq at this time, the paper reported.