Provincial Council's Mohamed Khadir denied on Thursday claims that American
forces have escorted some Peshmerga elements to the US K1 base in preparation to
redeploy the latter in the province.
Khadir said that the American forces have been present at this base for a long time.
"Any attempt to restore the control of the Peshmerga in Kirkuk would not succeed after security forces have re-imposed security," he stated.
The top Pentagon official, who visited the country secretly on Tuesday, assured Iraqi leaders that the US will stick to its limited military role in Iraq, a message aimed at recent talk by some Iraqi politicians of forcing a US troop withdrawal.
Pat Shanahan, the acting secretary of defense, said that in talks with Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi, he stressed US respect for Iraqi sovereignty, an issue that has become a hot-button topic among Iraqis since President Donald Trump suggested using Iraq as a base for monitoring neighboring Iran and for potential attacks against remaining elements of ISIS in Syria.