Clinton, Trump appear in first television forum, talk Iraq

Washington: US Presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton addressed topics ranging from national security to veteran affairs in their first television forum here.

The two struck a pointed contrast on deploying ground troops to Iraq during the town hall held in New York on Wednesday by NBC News and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Democratic presidentaial nominee Clinton pledged that the US was "not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we are not putting ground troops into Syria", while the Republican nominee disagreed, reported the Guardian.

Trump, who has long talked about the importance of "taking the oil" in the Middle East, said: "We would leave a certain group behind and they would take the various sections where they have the oil." 

The forum came hours after Trump laid into Clinton as "trigger happy". During an address on defence spending in Philadelphia earlier in the day, the former reality TV star suggested there wasn't a country in the Middle East that Clinton did not want to invade -- an assertion he repeated on Wednesday evening.

The US currently has roughly 5,000 troops deployed in Iraq, mostly as official non-combat advisers for the Iraqi military, along with special operations forces. Navy and Air Force pilots also participate daily in air attacks on the Islamic State terrorist group.

The discussion took place a little under three weeks before the first Presidential debate on September 26.