BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) — Iraq has claimed victory over the Islamic State group after a bloody 3 1/2-year war, and now the U.S.-led coalition is decreasing air support in the country.
It's the latest indication of the coalition's shrinking footprint amid a drawdown of U.S. forces announced earlier this month.
American and Iraqi air force commanders say the coalition will launch fewer airstrikes in support of Iraqi forces and instead focus more on training Iraqi airmen.
Iraq's air force will assume more of the "missions, duties and responsibilities" to maintain the country's hard-fought victories over IS, according to a statement released by U.S. Air Forces Central Command.
However, Iraq is struggling to fund the Air Force's $1 billion budget as the country is faced with the enormous task of rebuilding in the wake of its military victories.