Iraq's counter-terrorism forces vehicles gather in the town of Hit in Anbar province, April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry backed Iraq's prime minister Friday in his efforts to resolve a mounting political crisis, underlining the importance of securing a "unified and functioning government" in the fight against Daesh (ISIS). Kerry also pledged $155 million in new U.S. aid to Iraq.Making an unannounced visit to Baghdad, his first in two years, Kerry held discussions with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as well as with Iraq's foreign minister, the Sunni speaker of parliament and a Kurdish regional leader in what was designed as a show of support for the Iraqi government as it struggles with ongoing security, economic and political challenges.Abadi faces challenges of his own.Kerry said the war is being won, albeit slowly.Daesh has lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq, Kerry said.Kerry outlined significant remaining work – not least the long-delayed offensive to chase the militants out of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.
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