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Acting Pentagon chief visits Baghdad to support Iraqi sovereignty, discuss Syria withdrawal

FILE PHOTO – Acting U.S. defense secretary Patrick Shanahan arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Idrees Ali

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday for an unannounced trip that the State Department said would emphasize the importance of Iraqi sovereignty and discuss the future of U.S. troops there.

The visit comes after President Donald Trump said this month that an American presence was needed to watch Iran.

In his first trip to Iraq, Shanahan is set to also discuss the withdrawal of American troops from Syria with U.S. commanders and meet with Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by John Stonestreet

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