Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday the war against the Islamic State in the Middle East is “far from over,” despite recent statements from the Obama administration about “accelerating” the war against the terror group and retaking 40 percent of its territory.
Carter spoke at the top of a 12-nation ministerial meeting in Stuttgart, Germany. He hosted a similar meeting in March in Brussels following the ISIS bombings at an airport and subway station.
"While we have gathered momentum since our ministerial in Brussels, this fight is far from over," Carter said.
The Defense Chief officially identified the Navy SEAL who was killed in combat in northern Iraq on Tuesday as Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating.
"We are putting people at risk everyday," Carter added.
Answering a question about the overall role of U.S. forces in the ISIS fight, Carter reiterated the administration's policy that most U.S. special operations forces in Iraq and Syria were there to advise local forces. "That doesn't mean we will not do any fighting at all," Carter admitted.
A defense official later told Fox News new details about the battle that killed the Navy SEAL. "[The SEALs] were not responding as part of a QRF [quick reaction force]," the official said. "They happened to be driving near the location," he added, rebuking local reports which claimed otherwise.
"It's important for civilization that we do this," Carter said about the anti-ISIS fight, receiving a nod from his British counterpart Michael Fallon sitting next to him before the ministerial meetings. British Prime Minister David Cameron had made a similar argument about why defeating ISIS was so important.
After Carter's news conference, defense officials said discussions of potential next moves or "socializing" within governments would continue ahead of the next ministerial meeting in Washington scheduled for July.
In a joint statement issued following the meeting, the group reaffirmed its support "to further accelerate and reinforce the success of our partners on the ground and for the deployment of additional enabling capabilities in the near term."
"We called on all of Iraq's political leaders to commit themselves to the legal and peaceful reconciliation of political differences in order to confront the nation's challenges and to remain united against the common enemy," they said.
The statement was not specific about what additional contributions would be offered, beyond citing resources to support the Iraqi military campaign and "various forms" of help to a civilian effort to stabilize and reconstruct areas of Anbar province devastated by war damage.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson reported from Stuttgart, Germany. The Associated Press contributed to this report.