The commanding general leading the coalition fight against Islamic State doesn't expect the U.S. troop count in Iraq to fall despite Mosul's recapture, insisting American forces should stay post-ISIS to avoid repeating past mistakes.
"This fight is far from over," Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters in a press briefing via teleconference from Baghdad. "I don't expect to see any significant change in our troop levels in the immediate future."
At the same time, Townsend expressed hope Islamic State's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was "deader than a doornail," but was unable to confirm reports the wanted terrorist had been killed by the Russians in an airstrike. "If he's not, as soon as we find out where he is he will be."
Still, he conceded it may not matter in some ways whether the ISIS leader is dead because someone else will step in to run the organization.
"What we've seen with all these paramount leaders is you take them out and someone else steps up," Townsend said.