U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter today (December 15, 2016) reassured coalition partners that the United States would remain a key player in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, the VOA (Voice of America) News website reports.
"I can't give assurances. I can't speak for the next administration. However, I do have confidence in the future of the coalition campaign," Carter told his counterparts from 14 coalition nations meeting in London.
"I'm confident that, based on the results we're seeing and the strength of our coalition, the United States and its military will continue to be with you as a leading partner in this campaign," he added.
Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. has had a force of some 5,000 troops in Iraq, relying on small teams of special operations forces and advisers who assist local fighters. Trump has criticized that as an insufficient and slow-moving response to the threat posed by IS -- one that has allowed the militants to become entrenched in Iraq and Syria for several years -- and has stated that he will take much stronger aggressive action against IS.