Mike Pence's surprise visit to Iraq: Gratitude to the Kurdish forces

VP Mike Pence's surprise visit to Iraq before thanksgiving week; avoids travelling to the capital over security reasons

The US Vice President Mike Pence made an unscheduled visit to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Saturday. The VP met with the Kurdish leaders following his visit but avoided meeting the Iraqi leaders for security reasons. In his first visit as the VP, he visited the troops in the Ain al- Asad base in western Iraq's Anbar province. He has also travelled to Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish leaders.

Pence did not travel to Baghdad

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The reports say that Pence was not able to travel to Baghdad over security reasons. The trip came after weeks of anti-government rallies across Iraq. The officials confirmed to AFP that Pence had a telephonic conversation with the Iraqi PM Adel Abdel Mahdi.

President Braham Saleh said that the office was not aware of Pence's visit and had no meeting planned. The US embassy stated that they had no detail to share. Another official confirmed the meeting with the Kurdish leaders as a meeting that was meant to "affirm the gratitude and resolve to continue to stand with the Kurdish allies".

The visit came after the death tolls of the anti-government protest were seen to be rising in the past few weeks. After the visit, it was seen that the American-led forces and their Syrian Kurdish allies carried out one of the biggest joint operations against the Islamic State in Syria since President Trump has ordered the pullback of the troops.

The pullback ordered by Trump caused the Kurdish forces to be vulnerable to the Turkish assault last month. Pence during his visit said that the commitment of the US to the Iraqi and the Syrian Kurds will remain the same.