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Senior Pentagon official resigns

Senior Pentagon official resigns

The civilian official overseeing the Pentagon's campaign to defeat the Islamic State group in the Middle East has resigned, the latest shock to the Pentagon in recent weeks in the Trump administration.

The Pentagon said in a statement that interim Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller had accepted on Monday the resignation of Christopher Maier, who has overseen the military's policies against IS since March 2017.

Mr. Maier was director of the IS Working Group on Defeating IS, a group that has already disbanded. His responsibilities have shifted to counterterrorism staffs headed by officials whom President Donald Trump placed in senior positions at the Pentagon, following a series of departures that included the dismissal of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on November 9th.

Mr Maier's departure was originally reported by CNN. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Mr. Maier had been fired.

In a statement, the Pentagon did not give any reason for Maier's departure, but said the decision to disband the working group he headed was a recognition of the "success of military efforts to destroy" Islamic State control in Iraq and Syria. . Critics say that while the militant group has physically lost its empire, it remains a threat and that it is waiting for the right moment to regroup and reappear.

"The Department of Defense will continue to engage with our partners and allies to ensure the permanent defeat of IS and to encourage the repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters for prosecution," the Pentagon said in a statement.

About 900 US troops are still in Syria to work with local groups aimed at preventing a resurgence of IS. The U.S. also has about 3,000 troops in neighboring Iraq, working with local security forces toward the same goal.

The campaign against IS started during the Obama administration and in some respects was accelerated by the Trump administration. / VOA

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