BAGHDAD – Coalition forces have handed the Iraqi government control of a province south of Baghdad, reflecting security improvements across the country.
U.S. and Polish forces operated in the mostly Shiite province of Qadisiyah, the tenth of 18 provinces to revert to Iraqi authority. The handover comes as Iraqi officials pressure the United States to agree to a specific timeline to withdraw American forces.
Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the American commander in the provincial capital of Diwaniyah, was at the handover ceremony Wednesday. He said Qadisiyah has made big security gains in the past year, and that local and provincial governments are working well.
Qadisiyah had been the scene of fighting among Shiite factions, and U.S. and Iraqi troops launched a big operation there last year. The handover was delayed from last month.