Iraq’s prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State group, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are “out of the question.”

In his first interview with foreign media since taking office on Sept. 8, Haider al-Abadi told The Associated Press that the U.S. aerial campaign currently targeting the militants who have overrun much of northern and western Iraq has helped efforts to roll back the Sunni extremists. He also urged the international community to go after the group in neighboring Syria, saying the battle will prove endless unless the militants are wiped out there as well.

But al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, stressed that he sees no need to send foreign troops to help fight the Islamic State group. […]