U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has arrived in Iraq to meet with his commanders and review the progress in the six-day-old offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
During his unannounced visit to Baghdad on October 22, Carter is also due to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to discuss the Mosul operation, which was launched on October 17.
The visit comes on the heels of meetings Carter had with Turkish leaders in Ankara on October 20 when he announced there "is an agreement in principle" for Turkey to play a role in the battle to retake Mosul.
Carter’s third visit to Iraq this year comes two days after a U.S. soldier was killed by an improvised explosive device in northern Iraq.
The soldier was among about 100 U.S. troops embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces that are helping to guide U.S.-led coalition air strikes in support of the Iraqi-led military offensive to recapture Mosul.