In a Christmas Day interview, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the command of US-led coalition forces in Iraq, faulting the Iraqi military for denying that the Mosul offensive was paused, insisting that “people need to rest” and that the offensive would resume soon.
Townsend also provided an estimate on the overall war, saying it’s going as well as could be expected, and that it’d probably be “another two years of hard work” before ISIS is really defeated in Iraq and Syria, saying that he didn’t want to put a specific timeline on the war.
Overall timelines are largely meaningless at this point, since Pentagon officials have indicated the troops are going to stay in Iraq even after ISIS is defeated, meaning they can call “mission accomplished” whenever they want without taking any real action.
That he’s putting that date two years out, even as officials insist the war is going well, reflects just how much progress in Mosul has stalled. This likely also is why he called out the Iraqi military for disputing his “the offensive is paused” excuse for the invasion not making any progress in over a week.
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