The video filmed from a vehicle travelling along a local road in Iraq shows the black smoke stretching hundreds of metres into the sky reportedly from the Camp Victory military base situated next to the Baghdad International Airport. The base served as the headquarters of US Forces – Iraq until being transferred back to Iraqi government control in 2011. Currently, the facility continues to station American troops.
Between March 2020 and January 2021, the Trump administration whittled down the US’ military footprint in Iraq from 5,300 to 2,500 troops and expressed the desire to negotiate a possible complete withdrawal from the country. In turn, the Biden administration dismissed any talk of it.
This summer, the Iraqi government and the US signed an agreement obliging Washington to pull all combat forces out of Iraq by the end of 2021. Some Baghdad-allied Shia militias have expressed dissatisfaction with the treaty, which allows for a limited contingent of US troops to stay, and have insisted that all US personnel leave immediately.
Late last month, a US drone strike targeting Daesh-K militants responsible for the 26 August attack on the Kabul Airport ended up accidentally killing civilians, including children and an aid worker. The Taliban has warned that the US will face ‘consequences’ if its drones continue to operate illegally in Afghanistan’s airspace.
“The United States has recently violated all international law and its commitments to the Islamic Emirate in Doha, Qatar, and Afghanistan’s sacred airspace is being occupied by US drones. These violations must be corrected and prevented. We will call on all countries, especially the United States, to abide by their international commitments and laws in order to prevent any negative consequences,” the Taliban warned.