Iraqi military reclaims city of Tal Afar after rapid Islamic State collapse

Iraq’s military fully reclaimed this northern city from the Islamic State on Sunday in a rapid campaign that defied expectations that the extremist group would put up a fierce resistance in one of its last major strongholds.

The battle for Tal Afar, which lasted just eight days, highlighted the diminished capabilities of the Islamic State in Iraq a month after it lost the key bastion of Mosul to a coalition of Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes. The relatively quick victory is likely to determine how future fights against the militant group will be pursued.

Senior Iraqi military officers said the Islamic State has lost the will to fight in the face of a motivated and increasingly professional military. They are urging Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to authorize his armed forces to launch simultaneous battles for the last major cities the Islamic State controls.

Since the Islamic State took over nearly one-third of Iraq’s territory in 2014, Abadi has opted to reclaim cities one by one while the United States and other Western nations helped to rebuild Iraq’s armed forces, which collapsed during the Islamic State blitz.

Now, with more than three years of combat

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