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WSJ: U.S. Begins Withdrawing Troops Deployed After Soleimani Killing

KUWAIT -- U.S. Army paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division arrive at Ali Al Salem Air Base, January 2, 2020

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the United States has begun withdrawing troops it deployed to the Middle East after the killing of IRGC commander General Qassem Soleilmani.

According to the journal more than 3,000 troops are expected to leave the Middle East theater of operations in the coming weeks.

Soleimani was killed in a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3 along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis a commander of the Iran backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia.

Prior to General Soleimani’s killing, U.S. had about 80,000 troops in the Middle East operational theater which also includes Afghanistan where 13,000 troops were stationed. The United States expected a heavy retaliation from Iran which did not happen.

The deployment involved troops from the 82nd Airborne Division which were part of a 3,000 strong Immediate Response Force have already started arriving back to the United States. With 800 arriving home on February 20.

The Pentagon has also started a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan where it has recently concluded a peace agreement with the Taliban.